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ECCLA’s Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

Supporting Councils and Early Care and Education Providers During the COVID-19 Crisis

Hello friends of ECCLA,

We are all living through an extremely difficult situation that many of us probably could not have imagined just a month or two ago. Currently, available information indicates that this unprecedented crisis is likely to get worse before it will get better. Together, we are all processing the gravity of what is happening. During this time, ECCLA is continuing our role to support the core functions of Colorado’s Early Childhood Councils and the early childhood workforce. I would like to share with you the ways that ECCLA is supporting this important work during this challenging time.

Support for Early Childhood Councils

The primary way that ECCLA is able to support Councils in their crisis response work is by connecting them to resources as they become available. Councils are actively working with local community partners to effectively respond to child care needs and coordinate efforts during this time of crisis. It is important to note that while Councils are working locally, their response efforts may differ based on the local needs of the communities they serve. As resources and information become available from state and national efforts, ECCLA shares this information with Councils to support their individualized work within local communities.

We are also providing a weekly call for Councils to connect and share their needs, challenges, successes, and strategies while working with local partners to address this crisis. As changes rapidly occur, we will add additional avenues for Councils to connect. ECCLA is in close contact with Councils and we are communicating the needs they express to state partners and stakeholders to expedite and coordinate answers to frequently asked questions from local partners. We are following closely changes to state policies, expectations, and requests, as well as initiatives such as the Colorado Emergency Child Care Collaborative, to ensure we have answers to questions and access to the most up-to-date information that impacts the work of our membership. In all likelihood, we are looking at long term change and upheaval for the early childhood system in Colorado. As changes in the needs of Councils occur, ECCLA’s activities will evolve to support those needs.

Supporting and Protecting Early Care and Education Providers

ECCLA is mindful of the difficult position of early care and education providers across the state, as they are asked to keep their doors open for essential workers amid fears for the health and safety of their families. In addition to the child care needs for essential workers during this time, the need for continued income for independent early care and education providers is also very real. We see and hear these concerns from the field and we are advocating for you.

ECCLA concurs with the sentiment expressed by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) that in many ways we are “failing our early care and education workforce in this crisis” by not providing clear policy, investments, and guaranteed support for the health and safety for early care and education providers as they continue to operate during this crisis to support other critical infrastructure. We are also sensitive to the apparent double standard for publicly funded K-12 programs and Head Start programs to close while private providers are asked to remain open. To me, it has always been clear, but hopefully, it is clear more broadly now, that child care is critical infrastructure, thus, the same supports must be in place for this workforce as all other workers in this category. Additionally, financial support to ensure that these programs survive this crisis is also critically needed. For more information on this topic, I encourage you to read the opinion article authored by the CSCCE: Babies Don’t Do Social Distancing.

During this crisis, ECCLA is continuing our work in the development and administration of workforce supports for early care and education providers and our goal to grow in this area. We will continue to work with our partners, funders, and stakeholders to ensure that once life returns to more semblance of normalcy, that the Colorado early childhood workforce has the supports it needs to thrive and grow.

Finally, per the governor’s request, ECCLA is working in a remote capacity whenever possible to slow the spread of the virus.

Stay healthy and safe everyone,

Amy Payton, Executive Director

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