COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Resources for Child Care Providers, Families and Advocates

It’s important to stay safe, healthy and be informed, particularly for those who continue to be on the front lines of caring for children and families. With K-12 schools closed, child care programs must consider whether to remain open and risk exposure or to close and put their teachers and staff at risk of not being paid. The programs that choose to remain open might also be needed to serve additional children. Our goal is to keep our staff and community safe, continue business operations in service of our mission and do our part to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Are you a parent looking for child care? The State of North Carolina is urging all families who can keep their children at home, with a responsible adult, to do so.
Emergency and first responders and essential workers needing referrals to child care programs that are open and operating for children ages birth to twelve should call the statewide toll–free hotline at 1-888-600-1685 (operating Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
Our staff members are part of the team of NC Child Care Resource and Referral Specialists who are operating this statewide child care referral hotline.  If you are a family needing referral support from the hotline, please call 1-888-600-1685.
If you need other information or support or are a prior referral client needing additional/follow-up services, please email us, and we will respond as soon as possible.

Below are resources regarding public health and safety, ECE policy from DHHS, food resources and online educational tools to help in the classroom and the home.

CCSA COVID-19 Relief Fund

Child Care Services Association (CCSA) in collaboration with North Carolina’s Smart Start network and CCR&Rs have joined together to create the COVID-19 Relief Fund for child care programs. CCSA and Smart Start have always played a role in helping child care programs provide the highest quality early learning experience for our state’s youngest children. Now that programs are struggling to meet the needs of our essential workforce, CCSA and Smart Start are working together to be a lifeline for programs to get the tools and resources they need during this challenging time.

Learn more about how you can help support high quality child care in North Carolina here.

Early Childhood COVID-19 Timeline as told by CCSA

We have created an Early Childhood COVID-19 Timeline to help us mark major developments and consider how far we’ve come as we plan how to support the early childhood system in North Carolina after the COVID-19 pandemic. You can view the timeline here, and check back often for updates.

North Carolina Health & Safety

Stay up-to-date on the COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, with these resources, some specific to child care programs.


Mental Health Resources

Recommendations for Measuring Children’s Social-Emotional Health

Social-emotional health in young children is especially important in challenging situations, like COVID-19, because it impacts how they form relationships, explore resilience, and manage their emotions.

The North Carolina Early Child Foundation has released a full report for state leaders detailing recommendations for measuring young children’s social-emotional health in North Carolina. Read the full report here. Read more about the importance of improving data and resources for children’s social-emotional health here.

Best Cleaning Practices in Child Care

Messages are appearing in the media regarding cleaning facilities, surfaces and toys. A step is unclear in the procedure that is critical. Clean – sanitize – disinfect and when each of these processes happen. See the guidance here from NAEYC. 

Additional guidance for child health and safety can be found in the comprehensive Guidance of Caring for Our Children written by the American Academy of Pediatrics, found here.

Child Care Aware of America has additional information on how to be mindful of cleaning chemicals here.

The Child Care Strong NC Public Health Toolkit

The Child Care Strong NC Public Health Toolkit provides child care providers with important COVID-19 related guidance. This resource contains five sections of information about: Interim Guidance for Child Care Settings, Requirements and Recommendations, Daily Health Screening for COVID-19 for Anyone Entering the Building, Daily Health Screening Log, and Handling Suspected, Presumptive, or Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 Flow Chart and Protocol. Learn more here.

NCEEC Child Care Provider Stories 

The North Carolina Early Education Coalition (NCEEC) has released detailed stories from child care providers. These stories highlight the need for financial support during, and after, the COVID-19 pandemic for child care programs. The stories can be found here.

New NIEER Webpage for ECE Policymakers on COVID-19

The world’s attention—and our attention, too—is focused on an effective response to COVID-19. NIEER has created a webpage of federal, state and local guidance and examples ECE policymakers may find useful. If you wish to suggest resources useful to policymakers via their COVID-19 webpage, please email them to and include COVID-19 in the subject line.

COVID-19 and Homelessness: Strategies for Schools and Early Learning Programs

Schools and early childhood programs offer stability and safety. When schools and early learning programs close, or move to online learning, the health, safety and well-being of homeless children and youth are jeopardized. See information from SchoolHouse Connection here.

NEW: Forgivable Loans through the Federal CARES Act For Small Business Including Child Care Providers Explained by CCSA

Two loan programs are available for small businesses through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that can offer some assistance to child care providers (family child care homes and centers). Both of these programs are operated by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Learn more about each loan program as well as information on unemployment compensation here.

Forgivable Loans for Child Care Providers Through the CARES Act

The bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—which became law on March 27—is the third stimulus package in a series of bills designed to mitigate the harm of our current economic and public health crisis. Child care providers—who are predominantly women, disproportionately women of color, and already underpaid—are feeling the strain acutely as they scramble to serve children of essential workers, remain viable through closures, and support their staff and families. Read more here.

Here’s an overview of Child Care Relief Included in the CARES Act

As part of the relief provided to America’s families, small businesses, and major industries as they struggle with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, federal stimulus efforts thus far have recognized the unique position of child care and has included assistance to young children, their families, and the child care providers who care for them. Read more here.

Child Care Aware Resources for COVID-19 in Spanish

The resources to learn more about coronavirus closures by state, how to take action, means and financial assistance can be found in Spanish here.

In addition, Child Care Aware posted a webinar in Spanish to learn more about updates to the COVID-19 Stimulus Bill, the Coronavirus Economic and Relief Act (CARES ACT), and what it means for early childhood programs here. See the webinar here.

Child Care Aware of America: Cash Options for Providers During Coronavirus Pandemic

Child Care Aware of America published an overview of some of the federal responses to COVID-19. It provides specific guidance to providers and CCR&Rs about what they can do now and where they can go for help: Cash Options for Providers During Coronavirus Pandemic.

They will continue to update this resource as more federal funds become available.

COVID-19: Tips to Navigate Federal Relief Options for Family Child Care Providers

Family Child Care Home (FCCH) posted a webinar that explains the new federal relief options and what is specifically available for FCCHs. 

In addition, they have also provided slides that walks family child care providers through what they need to know and how they can go about applying for assistance.

Institute for Childhood Preparedness Coronavirus Resources

Resources for COVID-19 that are free and free to share including how to prevent the spread and latest information. Click here.

A Message from NC ECE Shared Resources

As we all continue to transition to the constant changes occurring due to the current pandemic, please know we are focused on doing everything we can to meet the needs of our partners and child care professionals across the country. 

We have been constantly updating all of the shared resources platforms with pertinent information from both the perspectives of child care business owners/directors and teachers in the classroom. We are consistently updating and sharing information as it becomes available on both the platform and through e-blasts. 

In that regard, we created a PDF we wanted to share in hopes this can support any communications you are doing at a more local level. Please feel free to share this as you see fit in any correspondence you may have planned.

Read more here.

Child Care Assistance Fact Sheet from FEMA

Section 408(e)The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, P.L. 93-288, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et. Seq. gives FEMA the authority to award Child Care Assistance through the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) provision of the Individuals and Households Program (IHP). This provision assists eligible disaster survivors experiencing increased disaster-caused financial child care costs. Read more here.

NC Child CAN (Child Advocacy Network) Resources

Click here to stay up to date with resources from NC Child and partners. 

Get the latest updates here on COVID-19 cases in NC with the DHHS COVID-19 Dashboard, including data on race, ethnicity and gender.

Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative 

For local relief funds, the Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative launched nationwide relief efforts by maintaining a list of state-by-state COVID-19 relief funds from community foundations, access it here

Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences 

Love in the Time of COVID-19: Inequities and Supporting Children, a blog based on an interview with HOPE National Advisory Board member about how the pandemic affects children’s resources. 

Food Resources

Child Nutrition, COVID-19 and Homelessness 

Texting Tool Available to Access Food for Children

Parents who need food assistance for their children can text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate nearby free meal sites. The texting service is also available in Spanish by texting COMIDA to 877-877.

Additionally, No Kid Hungry NC has created a map of local school sites, community organizations, and food assistance programs across North Carolina where families can access food. The interactive map is updated daily.

If there are instances in which children experiencing homelessness would benefit from a safe and stable setting like child care, this may be a really helpful resource.

DCDEE Child Care, COVID-19 and Homelessness

  • Local CCR&Rs will help the community navigate to find vacancies. Centralized CCR&R Emergency HotLine – 888-600-1685 for essential workers to connect with available child care.
  • Questions about child care subsidy: 1-800-859-0829 or 1-919-814-6300 
  • To locate school-age care availability call: 1-800-859-0829

Information for Families on Child Care Program Safety During COVID-19

Child Care Aware of America has created a resource that provides families, concerned about returning their children to child care, with information about the health and safety measures that have been implemented in early child care settings. These measures work to ensure the health and safety of children in child care settings during COVID-19. Read more here.

Information for Parents on Supporting Early Learning During COVID-19

The Bipartisan Policy Center has posted a blog series to provide guidance and support for the parents of young children during COVID-19. This blog post provides information and resources for parents on entertaining, educating, and supporting their young children during this chaotic time. Read more here.

Free Educational Resources

Social distancing and self-imposed isolation is an opportunity to disrupt children’s development. We know the first five years of a child’s life are the most crucial in laying the foundation for all future learning. Below is a multitude of either completely free or full of quality free content for kids to explore.