Parent Survey Shows Impact of COVID-19 on Young Children, Families and Child Care in SC

Findings from a statewide survey released on September 1 reveal how families with young children are managing child care, work and parenting during the pandemic.

The Build it Back Better survey was conducted by the South Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council, the United Way Association of South Carolina and South Carolina First Steps, with support from the Alliance for Early Success. Results include perspectives from 1,245 parents and caregivers from 42 of 46 counties in South Carolina. Less than one percent (9 respondents) completed the survey in Spanish.

The report aims to help state and national leaders address a child care crisis with a deepening impact on young children and families, said Georgia Mjartan, Executive Director of the SC Early Childhood Advisory Council and South Carolina First Steps. “As leaders looking for solutions, it is our job to listen to families with children who know what they need.”

Prioritizing the needs of working families will be essential to our economic recovery, said Naomi Lett, President and CEO of the United Way Association of South Carolina. “Child care is the invisible engine powering the state’s economy.”

Key findings from the Build it Back Better survey:

  • Disruptions in child care have required parents and caregivers of young children to modify or reduce their work hours. 47% of respondents report working fewer hours in order to provide care for their children.
  • Since March 13, 2020, families have relied on unpaid care as the most common type of child care arrangement. Before the pandemic, families used child care centers as the most common type of child care arrangement.
  • Currently available child care options are not adequate for many working families. When thinking about their child care arrangements for the next three months, survey respondents say they are most concerned about the increased likelihood that their child and family may be exposed to COVID-19.
  • This crisis poses an acute threat to the wellbeing of young children and their families. 31% of parents and caregivers say the pandemic has disrupted their home and family life; 59% say they are more stressed and anxious than usual.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all solution. 31% of parents and caregivers say their current child care arrangement is not ideal.

Survey Administration

The Build it Back Better survey was administered online through SurveyMonkey over a one-month period, from Friday, July 10 to Sunday, August 9, 2020. It was offered in both English and Spanish.

More information on the Build It Back Better Survey can be found here.

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