June 14, 2022

Childcare-related employment disruptions during COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill finds that childcare-related employment disruptions increased by nearly one-third in 2020 and was higher in caregivers for children with special healthcare needs, low-income families, and children from racial and ethnic minority groups.

Included in the study were 49,546 children, 5 years and younger, from 2016 to 2020.

In 2020:

  • 12.6% of all children had caregivers with a childcare-related employment disruption.
  • 24.8% of children with special healthcare needs had caregivers with childcare-related employment disruptions.

After adjustments for potential confounders:

  • Children with special healthcare needs had 2.7-fold higher odds of having a caregiver with employment disruption, while children overall had a 1.4-fold higher odds in 2020 than in 2019.
  • Male gender was associated with lower odds of childcare-related employment disruption.
  • Children 2 years or younger; Black, Asian, or multiracial children; children living in low-income families; and children living in families not headed by 2 married parents had higher odds of having a caregiver with employment disruption.

Without increased access to childcare, caregivers may struggle to meet their children’s basic and healthcare needs, the researchers say.

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