Childcare needs back to pre-COVID levels

After nearly 7 months in a pandemic, childcare needs have returned to pre-COVID levels. When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2-1-1s were averaging around 1,200 childcare requests per week in 2020. By the month of April, requests had dropped 67% to just under 400 requests per week; as schools and daycares closed and more parents were out of work or working from home, outside help was no longer needed for childcare. As states began reopening their economies, childcare needs inched upward. In late August and September, as the chart shows, childcare requests finally returned to levels last seen before the pandemic. This may reflect some combination of parents returning to work and partial or interrupted school openings. We will explore these questions further in the days ahead. Analyses examined 35,404 requests for childcare assistance to 2-1-1 helplines in 30 states from January 5 to October 3, 2020: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CT, DE, FL, HI, IA, IL, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NC, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, SC, SD, TN, VA, WA, WI and WY. Data were from 2-1-1 Counts, the daily tracking system used by 2-1-1s.

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