The year 2021 will be a critical one for the child care industry after the pandemic turned it upside-down.
More than half of providers say they've lost money in the last year by staying open, according to a recent survey. About 42% say they're taking on personal debt to pay professional costs.
Some help is on the way. Though, everyone agrees it's just a start.
The newest coronavirus relief package includes $10 billion for the child care industry. Plus, some providers will also be eligible for money through the Paycheck Protection Program.
Despite all that, it could be a booming year for child care jobs as more people get the vaccine and return to work.
"We expect that in the summer there will be a peak an increase in demand for child care, because some of the camps aren't going to be open. Some of what parents have utilized for child care during those off-school times may not yet be up and running or may be constricted in size. So, we expect a higher demand for in-home child care," said Laura Davis, franchise owner of College Nannies, Sitters and Tutors.
Davis helps connect families with fully-vetted care providers. But for parents seeking care on their own, she recommends asking a lot of questions during interviews.
“When parents are looking for a child care provider, they should be looking for that energy, the excitement. The more you talk about the children and more you share about what the day would be like,” said Davis.
She says the more specific a candidate's answer can be the better. Also, providers with experience outside of their family and circle of close friends are preferred.
Davis expects demand for in-home care providers to stay strong until parents get comfortable sending their kids back to care centers again.