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.
- Governor Cooper Announces Modified Stay At Home Order and Transition to Phase 1 of Easing Restrictions
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Updates
- Durham County Dept of Public Health Updates – Phone: 1-919-635-8150
- NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS): State Updates – 866-462-3821 or Text COVIDNC
- Division of Public Health
- Department of Public Instruction guidance
- Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations
- What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- What to do if you are sick
- Stop the spread of germs – help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus
- North Carolina COVID-19 Hotline: 866-462-3821
- National Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1 for Vets/Military
- Crisis Text Line: Text ‘HOME’ to 741-741
- North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 1-919-956-9124
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
- Helpline for Adults Experiencing Distress Regarding Social Distancing: 1-866-578- 4673
- Childcare for Essential Workers: Care options are available in licensed child care facilities for children from infants through age 12. The hotline is in partnership with the NC Child Care Resource and Referral Network. Parents and caregivers can call (888) 600-1685 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- The Hope4NC Helpline: 1-855-587-3463; 24/7 mental health support during COVID-19
- The Hope4Healers Helpline: 1-919-226-2002 for health care workers experiencing stress
Mental Health Resources
- The confidential 24/7 Hope4Healers Helpline connects frontline workers to licensed mental health professionals: (919) 226-2002
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Parent/Caregiver Guide (PDF; en español)
- Child Mind Institute: Managing anxiety, parenting tips, general support for families
- Helpline to Help Adults Experiencing Distress with Social Distancing: 1-866-578-4673
- CDC: Managing Stress and Anxiety
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Resources and information, 800-950-NAMI
- SAMHSA Taking care of your Behavioral Health: Fact Sheet and tips (en espanol)
- SAMHSA Coping with Stress: Fact sheet and tips (en espanol)
- ASPR Behavioral Health Resources: Resources to prepare and manage mental health
- Zero to Three Young Children at Home during COVID-19: The Importance of Self-Care
- Parents Helping Parents: Virtual meeting/Support groups for parents
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.
NC DHHS/DCDEE will make Child Care Subsidy payments to ALL child care providers for March, April and May
NC DHHS/DCDEE has just released important new COVID-19 Child Care Payment Policy information. One key update is that DCDEE will make Subsidized Child Care Program payments to ALL subsidized child care providers for March, April, and May service months, regardless of whether the facility is open or closed.
The April 3rd COVID-19 Child Care Payment Policy provides detailed information about policy changes that apply to licensed or regulated child care facilities for the months of April and May 2020 (subject to the availability of funding) related to 1) Subsidized Child Care program payments, 2) NC Pre-K Program payments 3) Emergency Child Care Subsidy program payments, and 4) Bonus payments to child care teachers and staff providing services during the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here to learn more.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Assistance: Text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate free meal sites (en espanol, text COMIDA to 877-877)
- No Kid Hungry NC: Map of local school sites, community organizations, food assistance programs
- Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina: Find your local food bank
- Wake County Public schools will provide meals for students Monday – Friday beginning March 17. There are also many food distribution resources throughout the county
- Orange County Public Schools will provide meals for students at a number of locations beginning on March 16
- Both Wake County and Johnston County schools announced places to ensure that food is available to those in need
- NC State Food Safety Resources: Food safety, dining out and grocery shopping.
- End Hunger Durham: Food Pantry directory
- Durham Public Schools Meals: Student meals and supplemental learning information
- Durham Neighbors Free Lunch Initiative: Free meals, Monday-Friday, through Geer Street Garden
- Sheetz, located at 7520 NC 751, Durham, NC: Kidz Meal Bags; available all day to children and families
- Find other sources of food in your area here
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.
- Scholastic is offering free online courses so your kids can keep learning while schools are closed
- Lakeshore is offering more than 1,000 free resources for the classroom and home
- Common Sense Media is offering free educational apps, games and websites for children
- PBS offers a great list of resources for How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus
- Resources for Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-being
- A list of education resources (birth – grade 2) from NC Child CAN (Child Advocacy Center) for parents to keep their young children engaged in learning while schools and care facilities are closed
- Starfall is offering reading and math activities for children in pre-k and kindergarten
- Khan Academy is offering free resources for remote learning
- Vooks is a streaming library of kid-safe animated storybook
- Digital Trends guide about online learning