In Gov. Andy Beshear's Monday afternoon press conference, he called for the closure of child care centers by end of day Friday, March 20. Beshear said there would be some exceptions to the policy for healthcare workers and select others.
"It's going to be devastating," Bradley Stevenson, executive director of Child Care Council of Kentucky, said. He explained, from a financial standpoint, the closure of child care centers would be detrimental to both working parents and the child care facilities.
Stevenson said parents are going to have to make the decision to either bring their child to work, which many places of work may not allow such things, or to take off from work in order to stay home with their child. He said the latter may cause a significant financial impact if a person's job is unable to allow them to work from home.
"Many people will be looking to their family, friends and neighbors for help during this time," Stevenson said.
He said there are plenty of material and resources which can be found online where these friends and family can find ideas for creating structure and abilities to educate children while taking care of them.
Stevenson said most child care facilities already operate with very thin margins. He likened this issue, though he noted there are many differences, to the freeze put on child care assistant programs in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
"There was a lot of fear at the time," Stevenson said. He added there were some child care centers which did not make it through the freeze. But, he added, child care centers were able to grow together as a network during this time.
"We will come out of this stronger. What that looks like and what that means I don't exactly know. But I know that providers are resilient and passionate," Stevenson said. He noted one good piece of knowledge child care facilities should hold onto is the fact the need of child care will always be present.
Stevenson said the Child Care Council of Kentucky is working with local community partners to launch online trainings for child care workers for free. He noted they are still working on the details but he is certain it will happen. The trainings mean providers will be able to provide employees with training, which is required, for free.
"We will make it. We'll just make it by adjusting the way that we have to. And we will get through this," Beshear said during his press conference Monday.