Pandemic woes continue for struggling Bay Area daycares

Hundreds of childcare providers across the Bay Area closed their doors when the pandemic hit, and many could not find a way to reopen. It creates a ripple effect all over.

Santa Clara County has closed approximately 570 childcare businesses since July 2020. According to, Alameda County lost nearly 300 of his over 1,800 daycares between 2019 and 2021.

As the industry continues to turmoil, the cost of full-time childcare in licensed preschools in Silicon Valley will drop from about $11,100 a year in 2010 to $20,500 in 2022, according to Joint Venture Silicon, a major recession. It has almost doubled since it ended. Valley’s 2023 Silicon Valley Index report.

“Silicon Valley tends to be an unfavorable environment for starting and raising a family,” said Rachel Massaro, vice president and research director at Joint Venture, a San Jose-based economic think tank. Told.

For 13 years, this yellow Victorian-era two-story residence in the heart of San Jose’s Little Italy was home to Teresa Sabatino’s Heartworks Family Center. Little Italy Sabatino, better known as His Kids, had to make the difficult decision to close shop in December 2021 as he struggled to keep up with the city’s rapidly rising rents.

“It’s crumbling,” Sabatino said of the current state of the childcare system. “In our society, early childhood has never been truly valued or valued. That’s why I don’t think we put enough thought or money into it. Unfortunately, the pandemic has shown it to be true.”

Many parents are faced with the difficult choice of taking a financial hit or figuring out how to keep their children at home.

Monique Gallegos of Santa Clara received subsidized childcare through a local program, Choices for Children. The mother of two children said she receives about $1,400 a month, but even that doesn’t cover her youngest son’s entire bill.

“It was really tough deciding whether to go back to work or stay home with him,” she said. “I had to figure out what I was going to pay or if he should just stay home.”

The main reason Gallegos decided to become a Montessori certified teacher was the high cost of childcare. It was so she could bring her kids to work and get a discount on childcare.

Santa Clara County supervisor Susan Ellenberg said declining access to childcare in the Bay Area is having a domino effect on the economy. And if you can’t work, you have less disposable income. That’s why more and more people think that “publicly funded childcare really serves the public good,” she said.

“Historically and paternalistically, parenting has been viewed as the task of the individual parent. is largely true,” Ellenberg said. is needed.”

Earlier this year, Ellenberg and other oversight boards allocated $20 million to the Pandemic Fund of the American Relief Plans Act for early childhood education-related issues. $5 million in workforce program partnerships with FIRST 5, an initiative that serves families with children ages 0 to her 5, with the remaining $15 million for her child care of infrastructure grants. — Resume.

Sarah Duffy, chief child officer for the county’s Office of Children and Family Policy, said childcare departments often operated at very thin profit margins, which made childcare providers very vulnerable to closing early in the pandemic. When those businesses closed, many people in the field moved to other jobs, she said.

However, the apprenticeship program that FIRST 5 operates in partnership with Mission Community College and De Anza Community College is expected to help new cohorts interested in early learning.

“We’re bringing in a new workforce and new certifications to bring new providers into the field and get them onto the teacher certification track where they can get higher wages,” Duffy said. .

Rosie Ramirez still shudders to think of the day Bay Area health officials announced shelter-in-place in March 2020. For the past 16 years, she has run Giving Her Tree Her Family Her Childcare in San Jose, providing full-day care for infants from age 13 to her 13-year-old. she is old The last few years have impacted her life, family and business.

She was able to bounce back, but she said all child care centers, including many family members and friends who have businesses of their own, have dealt with the pandemic differently.

“There were no guidelines, no accreditation support,” she said of the state agency that regulates the childcare sector. “We were out of control and had to work things out for ourselves. I had to make my own personal decision.”

New figures released by the U.S. Census show that during the Bay Area’s population exodus, nearly 250,000 residents from nine counties left the region between April 2020 and July 2022, leaving many child-rearing vacancies. The donor has lost a family member.

Some families have moved, Ramirez said, but the number of children enrolled is limited to 14 and fluctuates as usual.

But through it all, she is determined to remain optimistic about the future.

“COVID has certainly had a big impact, but I try to look at half the cup and say there were some pluses and some minuses,” Ramirez said. It’s been a tough time, and I’m still looking forward to the new normal.” Pandemic woes continue for struggling Bay Area daycares

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