In the COVID-19 crisis, child care providers answered the call to care for children whose parents work in essential services. Child care in the pandemic also means many programs are shuttered and parents are struggling to find makeshift arrangements for children while they work.

More than 70 percent of the 1,125 licensed child care providers operating in Central Ohio in February were closed with estimates as high as 11,690 employees out of work.

The pandemic has revealed underlying realities: child care is essential, and the child care sector is strained. Child care is not just a business. It’s vital infrastructure like roads and schools. It requires additional support so families and businesses can count on child care the same way they count on other infrastructure.

Without significant change, child care programs may not be there for us. At the heart of it is a math problem: pandemic safeguards mean too few children could be enrolled at prevailing tuition to yield enough revenue to cover increased costs.

Our brief “Pandemic Child Care: Lessons From Central Ohio” outlines the challenges of offering care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlights areas of concern ahead and sheds light on the importance of child care for our economic recovery.


For more information, watch Groundwork Ohio’s Child Care Roundtable with Congressman Steve Stivers and Senator Stephanie Kunze. CEO Eric Karolak (15:24) presents the challenges many child care providers faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.