Childcare in crisis: Can Biden’s plan save him?


Next, parents began dropping off the older siblings of some of the toddlers already enrolled in the program. Before she knew it, Ms Ballivian had 54 school-aged children at the center, up from zero before the pandemic.

Food turned out to be a challenge. Normally, the center would get its children’s lunches from the county school district. But when schools closed, so did their kitchens. Ms Ballivian’s team found themselves trying to find a way to close the gap.

Fortunately, Ms. Ballivian already had a food handler’s license and some of her employees were trained in food preparation. So “we went to Best Buy and broke a deal with them and bought grills and air fryers,” she said. They improvise breakfast every day, tossing chicken nuggets in the fryer or grilling vegetables.

“We did not know at the time that this situation would continue until now,” she added. “We now have a full meal service program with a brand new commercial dishwasher. “

In May, she managed to secure a loan of around $ 500,000 under the Paycheck Protection Program included in the first bailout passed by Congress last March, which kept the center operating for some months. And Virginia, like a few other states, has abandoned its long-standing policy of government grants for children paid based on attendance, instead of paying child care based on enrollment. Since so many of Ms Ballivian’s children were eligible for government grants, this policy provided much needed relief, she said.

But that policy expired on July 1.

And when in August the schools did not reopen, “the kids who were supposed to graduate and enter the school system never did, they stayed with us,” Ms. Ballivian said. “These kids are enrolled in the school system and getting a virtual education, and what we’re doing here is to facilitate that virtual education.

ACCA registrations didn’t drop much as the center served essential workers, but the costs for more offices and air filters, not to mention kitchen equipment, kept piling up. When cases of Covid emerged, parts of the school were to close for two weeks, resulting in a loss of income of $ 30,000 each time. In September, the center started to lose money.

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