BOSTON (CBS) – Scott Parker and his wife started looking for care for their son Jack before he was born. They were able to secure a slot by the time he was five months old.
“I work for a company that’s an essential service,” Parker said. “I’ve been working from home but they are planning to reopen as soon as they can.”
The couple hopes to work from home as long as their jobs allow. Because the day care the Parkers rely on is closed until the end of June. Its owner, Christopher Vuk, doesn’t know how long they’ll be able to survive without help.
“We get through our payroll for two and half a months but then we still have the month above that, and then we have our rent. That’s something I’ve heard from a lot of child care owners is that ‘I don’t have the money to pay the rent,'” said Vuk.
Vuk owns Rock and Roll DayCare. He operates several sites, and through music-based learning Vuk and his staff serve over 200 families. “We are essential to the reopening of the economy. If schools, if day cares are not able to reopen, then people won’t be able to go back to work,” Vuk said.
Last week, Vuk joined a group of 29 operators in sending a letter to Governor Baker asking for help. In it, the association, known as DayCares United, points to the governor’s 17-member board tasked with developing a standard to guide us through a new normal. Vuk says providers need to be included in that conversation.
“We want to have a seat at the table. We want to help be part of the reopening and inform the decisions that are being made from our perspective,” Vuk said.
A recent analysis found an extended shutdown, without government support, could close hundreds of day care centers for good. The closures could also eliminate more than 50,000 childcare slots in Massachusetts, putting pressure on parents and an already stressed system.
“The idea of not having any childcare and trying to work full time, it’s an impossibility. And the idea that we could open without that existing makes absolutely no sense to me,” said Jackie Hayes, a parent of two.
As state leaders weigh when to lift restrictions, Senator Elizabeth Warren is among a group of lawmakers calling on Congress to approve a $50B bailout — and provide a lifeline, before it’s too late.
“We’re not looking for support in three months or two months,” said Vuk. “We need support now.”