The Impact of COVID-19 on Louisiana's Child Care Providers

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) is conducting a series of surveys about the impact of COVID-19 on child care providers, in partnership with Agenda for Children, Childcare Connections for Northeast Louisiana, Louisiana Association of United Ways, Northwestern State University, On Track by 5 Alliance, Pointe Coupee Early Childhood Coalition, United Way of Southeast Louisiana, and Volunteers of America.

The second survey of child care providers was conducted April 13 - 20, 2020, while Louisiana remained under a stay-at-home order, and K-12 school closures were extended through the remainder of the school year. The survey again asked child care providers what impact COVID-19 had on their program or business, including financial losses and closure decisions, and what supports were needed to help providers respond to the public health crisis. Additional questions about open centers and what specific supports closed centers would need to reopen were added.

Results from the April 13th survey show the troubling circumstances and difficult decisions child care providers in Louisiana continue to face as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Most notably:

All Providers

  • As the COVID-19 Pandemic Continued, More Providers Experienced Financial Losses: 87% of providers reported experiencing financial losses due to COVID-19, with losses averaging over $26,000 per center as of April 20, translating to an estimated $37 million in collective losses statewide. 

  • One-Third of Child Care Providers Continued to Expect an Extended Closure Will Force Them to Close Permanently: On average, those centers each serve 61 children and employ 13 full- and  part-time staff members.

  • Almost Half of Providers Laid Off Staff and Most Expected Additional Layoffs If Faced with an Extended Closure: 46% of providers indicated they have already laid off employees, and 62% of providers expected to lay off employees if the COVID-19 pandemic continues for an extended period of time.

  • Grants and Forgivable Loans Remained Most Requested Supports: Over 70% of providers indicated grants to pay for fixed costs during a closure, grants to pay staff during a closure, and forgivable loans would support their response to COVID-19 if their program or business must close. 

Closed Providers

  • More Providers Have Had to Close Temporarily Within the survey window, the percentage of providers that had closed some or all of their locations increased to 56%, impacting over 14,600 children. By the end of April, the percentage of closed providers rose to 70%, according to data from the Louisiana Department of Education.

  • Closed Providers Cited Low Enrollment, COVID-19 Concerns as Most Common Reasons for Closure: Over 90% of child care providers indicated grants to pay employees during closures would support their response to COVID-19 both now and in the future if their program or business must close.

  • Closed Providers Indicated Needing Financial Support to Reopen: Most providers responded that financial support would help them reopen, requesting an average of $23,000 per center. The most common uses for the support would be employee payroll, supplies, rent/mortgage, and food. 

Open Providers

  • Providers Able to Remain Open Mostly Served Families of Essential Workers: Of the providers still open during the survey window, over 97% cited parents with essential jobs as a factor influencing their decision to remain open. Almost all of these centers (98%) served children of essential workers, and those children represented over 90% of current enrollment at open centers.

  • Most Open Providers Experienced at Least a 50% Reduction in Enrollment: Over 75% of open providers reported enrollment numbers in April that were less than 50% of their enrollment in January, representing almost 9,500 fewer children served.

 

More details can be found in the report here and in a one-page brief about the report here

To better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting child care providers around the state, LPIC conducted a survey of child care providers in Louisiana from March 16-23, 2020, in partnership with the Agenda for Children, Childcare Connections for Northeast Louisiana, Louisiana Association of United Ways, Northwestern State University, Pointe Coupee Early Childhood Coalition, On Track by 5 Alliance, United Way of Southeast Louisiana, and Volunteers of America. The survey asked child care providers what impact COVID-19 is having on their program or business, including financial losses and closure decisions, and what supports are needed to help providers respond to the public health crisis..

NOTE: The scale of the pandemic and the guidance provided to child care centers changed dramatically over the course of the survey window, which could have an effect on the overall survey results. Child care providers who answered the survey on March 16 were more likely to be open, and they likely had less concrete information of the pandemic's economic impact on their center. By the time the survey closed on the morning of March 23, hours before the Stay at Home Order went into effect, over 30% of all child care centers in Louisiana had reported their closure to the Louisiana Department of Education. LPIC intends to replicate this survey in the coming weeks in order to provide a longitudinal view of the impacts of COVID-19 on child care providers.

Results from the March 16th survey show the troubling impacts and difficult decisions facing child care providers in Louisiana during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most notably, due to COVID-19:

  • A Majority of Child Care Providers Reported Losing Revenue: 78% of child care providers in Louisiana had experienced a loss in revenue, with collective losses due to COVID-19 totaling almost $1.7 million, as of March 23.

  • A Significant Number of Child Care Providers Had Closed or Were Planning to Close: Within the survey window, 20% of child care providers had closed their program or business, and another 15% anticipated closing. In the week following the survey, the percentage of closed providers rose to 60%, according to data from the Louisiana Department of Education.

  • Closed Child Care Providers Experienced Financial Losses from Multiple Directions: 72% of closed child care providers were no longer collecting tuition from families; however, 51% of these providers were continuing to pay their employees.

  • One-Third of Child Care Providers Reported an Extended Closure Will Force Them to Permanently Close: Those centers serve approximately 12,500 children and employ over 2,000 full- and part-time staff members.

  • A Majority of Providers Requested Support to Pay Their Employees: Over 90% of child care providers indicated grants to pay employees during closures would support their response to COVID-19 both now and in the future if their program or business must close.

 

More details can be found in the report here and in a one-page brief about the report here

The Impact of COVID-19 on New Orleans Child Care Providers

To better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting child care providers specifically, the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC), Agenda for Children, and the United Way of Southeast Louisiana conducted a survey of child care providers in southeast Louisiana from March 16-23, 2020. The survey asked child care providers what impact COVID-19 is having on their program or business, including financial losses and closure decisions, and what supports are needed to help providers respond to the public health crisis.