In-Home Child Care for School-Age Children During Distance Learning

This fall, many grade schools across the country will be offering partial or entirely online learning thus creating a need for child care for working parents whose children are learning remotely. Remote schooling for school-age children will create new demand for child care and various challenges for providers and families.

From Providers

We asked providers across the country about providing care for school-age children during distance learning.

Melody Robinson

Chicago, IL

“Because of the pandemic I have seen a tremendous need for additional funding as a family child care provider.” 

Christina Nelson

Burlington, VT

“Now is the time for policies to support the programs that build the foundation for children in the U.S.”

Melody Robinson

Chicago, IL

“You’ve got to have open communication with the parents…and be able to connect with the teachers.”

The Challenges

As schools begin this Fall – whether in-person, hybrid, or virtually – more school-age children need safe and supervised settings to learn while their parents work. As school schedules change, families and child care providers face an increased demand for flexible and affordable care, and will need access to additional funding and resources.

In-Home Child Care Needs Additional Resources

Increased demand: Demand for home-based care is increasing as it offers the smaller group size and flexible hours that families need.

Increased hours: We need additional caregivers and staff willing and able to meet the increased hours of demand.

Increased safety precautions: To meet health and safety requirements, we need funding for the staff, time, and materials needed.

Increased need for training: Providers need training, materials, technology, and the ability to communicate with children’s teachers.

Distance-Learning Leads To Surge In Child Care Needs For Families

Families need more care: Distance learning plans create major gaps in children’s care and education for working families.

Safety has a cost: Distance learning plans may significantly increase the cost of ensuring children are safe while parents are working.

Child care is the backbone of our economy: If parents can’t find care, their ability to work is threatened, impacting their financial well-being and putting our economy at risk.


We encourage local, state, and federal leaders as well as child care advocates to increase funding to help families and providers access the resources they need, facilitate shared planning and decision-making, and invest in technical supports. 


Secure funding to meet increased demand

A cross-sector response is needed to ensure affordability of child care for school-age kids.


Engage local, state and federal system leaders in the response

Policy and financing solutions will need cooperation from every level of government and the private sector.


Finance a system for everyone

Ensure that serving additional school-age children does not displace existing children, especially infants and toddlers, and further exacerbate child care deserts.


Create (and maintain) provider and parent friendly policies

Policy adjustments must reduce cost and burden to parents and enable payment for new care arrangements.


Provide grants and funds for material supports

Providers need access to the internet, computers, school-age appropriate learning materials and books to provide quality services.


Enable school-based support to follow children into new settings

Funding and services for K-12 including food, special education services, and school-based counseling need to be sustained for children in their new care setting.


Use trusted intermediaries

Networks can support peer-to-peer learning, training, coaching and technical assistance, and engage in planning on behalf of many providers.


Cross-sector shared planning and decision making

Prioritize collaboration between school districts, child care providers, informal caregivers and their system partners with a focus on safety, instruction and financing.


Prioritize traditionally underserved populations

We cannot allow traditionally underserved children and families to be displaced from care. This includes children of color and differently abled children.


Coaching and training for caregivers

Provide training/coaching that is specifically designed to ensure online school is successful and meet the developmental needs of children.


Meet the mental and physical health needs of children and providers

Ensure access to consultants, clinical supports, ongoing COVID resources and consistent procedures.


Provide ongoing multi-sector support to caregivers

Provide targeted supports to manage learning goals, special education plans and triage questions as they arise.

Joe Perreault


Joe Perreault of the Association of Professional Family Child Care Alliance of Georgia speaks to the needs among Family Child Care providers in serving school age care children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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