The state of Alaska received nearly $100 million last year to support the ailing child care system, but by the end of the year, the state had distributed only about 5% of it.
The poll found that in the last few months, 44% of households with children under age 18 have been facing serious financial problems.
Child care providers say hiring has never been easy in the traditionally low-wage industry, but the pandemic has made it even harder.
Chamber of Commerce Director Jason Bickling said that’s created a unique opportunity for the city to reflect on what it needs.
With parents going back to work, child care centers need to open back up fully — but they’re short-staffed.
Meanwhile, some parents are getting creative. More than 200 people have joined a local Facebook group where they’re matchmaking for small, COVID-19 learning bubbles and child care.
Recommendations include a new staff position responsible for designing a city-backed child care program for the duration of the pandemic. Another is to pay employers to run on-site child care programs.
Superintendent Bridget Weiss emphasized that the school district’s decisions around reopening could have wider community impacts.
The grant program would pay child care providers with CARES Act money through the end of the calendar year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in business closures, remote schooling, and many people are working from home. And, in Anchorage, it has led to a shortage of available child care.