After School Providers Meeting Findings 7-31-20
Caring People Alliance called the meeting of After School Providers in the after math of the School District’s decision to have a hybrid school year which then changed to a fully virtual school year. The reason the meeting was called was not to advocate for any particular position, but to hear directly from the school age provider community about the impact of the SDP decision on our programs and services.
The purpose of this report is to summarize the questions that were raised in the chat during the meeting as well as the discussion of survey results.
The meeting was preceded by an online survey about provider capacity and needs.
Here are some graphics on the summary of those needs:
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ROLE OF THE CHILD CARE/AFTER SCHOOL PROVIDER COMMUNITY
There were many questions about the role of the after school provider community, why it wasn’t at the table when these decisions were made. Why it should be expected to solve the problems created in other systems. In particular, how this problem has been pushed down to the lowest paid workers across all these systems. Candace Wegner summed up a large number of comments with this statement:
How can we make viable plans without basic data -- funding for care, city plans to refer families, expected hours, true health care risks, etc? I am concerned that we, as an industry, are too eager to try to solve problems that begin in our larger educational and health care systems. Are we even resourced or equipped to do help at a systems level? Do individual child care centers have the data they need to make informed decisions? Who has done the research to see if this will even work? In addition, we seem to be moving the health risk to the lowest paid workers in the entire state/city educational system. Major equity issues at play here that we need to consider --- all of us together -- before we jump in and try to either rescue the system or chase potential dollars. If we go in this direction, someone needs a systems plan before coming to the providers for the solutions. This seems excessively risky for all involved.
Why do we think children & staff can be safe in child care centers or centers opened by the City when the SDP says that children and staff aren’t safe in schools? Linda Barber put this concern for many in succinct terms: What is the difference with the children being safe at school verses them being safe with the provider?
Many providers questioned why the ECE community was not involved in any of these decisions.
From Robin Miller: I do not understand how we are working together when Early Ed. was not involved in the decision for primary school to close and push their children off on child care facilities. How is it fair or safe for primary education to close but keep child care centers open. Then ask us to accommodate primary education children for a quarter of the cost that primary education receives!
QUESTIONS ABOUT PAYMENTS AND FUNDING
Which is a nice segue into the large volume of questions around payments. How CCW is the lowest paid in the ECE system. Mary Graham’s comment is long but worth repeating:
…..providers who do Phl Prek get reimbursed $8.84 an hour ($8,750 for 5.5 hours a day for 180 days a year_. PA PReK Counts reimbursement is $9.72 an hour. Head Start is approx. $6.75 an hour. BUT for Child care...even at a Star 4 level, the reimbursement is $4.27 ($42.67 a day for 10 hours). BUT now the school district isn’t able to do their job…and they get reimbursed $24,597 for 180 days for 6.5 hours...well that is $21.02 an hour. The ECE field is now being asked to ‘help families’ and care for school age kids. Pay us $21.02 an hour and we will be glad to. Another concern, why is money from the Department of Human Services (which is already limited and can’t increase rates) being used to bail out services that are to be provided by the Department of Education. Sorry for the rant. What child care providers are paid an hour ($4.27) is a crime. You can’t even park your car for an hour for that amount of money!
A number of comments noted that the blended rate will not work for full day care. Participants were concerned about extra funding for PPE, tutoring/educational support; changes required for social distancing; how to afford the length of a 10-hour day combining the full school day with before and after care. Providers were also concerned that as of September 1, 2020, CCW payments will be based on attendance, not enrollments as has been the case since the stay-at-home orders in March 2020, and providers have no way of knowing what the demand will be.
Christina Melton put it clearly: Can we pause to focus on what is expected of providers in caring for school age children? What resources will be available? Funding? Teacher support? We need information on how this model will look, and what we need to do, in order to make appropriate decisions.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ROLE OF THE SDP IN SUPPORTING VIRTUAL LEARNING @ CENTERS
There were a number of questions about coordination of schools with the learning time vs snack/lunch/break times for students in centers; what would the role of the child care staff be during virtual learning; will the school district provide extra staff to support the virtual learning. There were several questions about how the SDP will support students with special needs.
QUESTIONS ABOUT SPACE & ZONING
There were a number of questions about space, increasing space, getting zoning or licensing expedited, etc.
There were several comments to direct participants to places where they could access resources to help with some of the issues that we will be facing. These resources along with the complete list of questions is viewable below: