A new Fairleigh Dickinson Poll examines the challenges that New Jersey working parents have with child care during the coronavirus pandemic. Of those who had a child — newborn to three years old — in some form of care before the pandemic, 41% indicated it has been difficult (ranging from somewhat to much more difficult) to now find quality care, with the fear of COVID-19 the primary reason (53%) for the increased difficulty; the increased cost of care was a distant second reason (18%) for the difficulty.
The online poll, conducted with support from The Nicholson Foundation, found that 70% of parents and guardians of very young children (up three years old) use some form of child care. This is in line with pre-pandemic national trends. The typical range of hours per week for a child to be in care is 22.8 to 25.
Almost half (45%) of those who use child care lean on family members to do the caring, with another 30% using child care centers, day care or preschool. Of those who rely on relatives for the task, 47% depend on grandparents. Forty-two percent say the relative is receiving payment for taking care of the kids.
Dr. Allison Friedman-Krauss of the National Institute for Early Education Research, said, “Child care use by families of infants and toddlers is about 80% of what it was before the pandemic; as vaccination rates increase and the pandemic recedes, we expect the demand for infant/toddler care to return to or even exceed pre-pandemic levels.”