New research from the Infant and Toddler Policy Research Center at the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) finds that Covid-19 safety measures, class size limits, and low state subsidies have put New Jersey child care providers in financial peril. The study was funded by The Nicholson Foundation.
Class size reductions combined with outlays for expensive personal protective equipment, making air circulation upgrades, and implementing more frequent cleaning and other procedural changes have increased costs for safe, high-quality child care. The study estimates that since the pandemic child care provider costs have increased up to $69 a week per toddler and $37 a week per preschooler.
The New Jersey Child Care Subsidy Program pays centers up to $241 a week for infants, $201 a week for toddlers, and $167 a week for preschoolers. Prior to the pandemic it was already difficult for centers to survive with subsidy rates below breakeven for infants. With these higher costs, child care programs are likely to lose money across all ages.
NIEER’s report indicates that per child subsidy rates will need to increase by up to $40 per week for infants and $63 per week for preschoolers.