Recession leading to more latchkey kids
I had an amazing meeting today with Elizabeth Benedict, Director of Donor Relations and and Communications at Child Care Resources here in Seattle. Child Care Resources is doing some really amazing things helping families cope with the need for finding high-quality, affordable care for kids, particularly young children.
While we discussed a lot of things related to early childhood education (particularly the need for effective, productive social-emotional learning — hence where SocialSmarts comes in), our conversation drifted somewhat to the area of “what effect is the current economy having on child care?” One of the things Elizabeth brought up is that when parents lose their jobs, they often need to drop childcare and as a result, there is a marked increase in the numbers of latch-key kids.
Scary thing is, the kids being left alone aren’t the teens who can look after themselves, but it’s happening to younger and younger children. So much that CCR has a program where they teach siblings of young children how to care for their brothers and sisters when they are put in charge of the 0-5 set! It’s really an awful state of affairs, but it’s reality. So, WHEN the older siblings are left in charge, at least CCR can give these young “caregivers” those skills that support them to be the best caregivers they can at that time, given the less-than-ideal circumstances.
As a mom who has struggled with trying to find good childcare for my kids in the past, I appreciate what CCR is doing. They are also working hard to help educate and train caregivers and child care providers so that the youngest of our children are getting the best “out of home care” that they can. After hearing what Elizabeth and her group is up to, I can only figure it takes an ARMY of dedicated, passionate people to move the mountains that they must every day. The need is great and the workers — and resources — are never enough.
School readiness is another area CCR helps with, and this is so vitally important for our pre- and EarlyLearners. I certainly understand how important it is to get our youngest children adequately prepared to be ready for the classroom as it affects everything that happens to that child downstream.
I’ve only begun to learn about what CCR is up to and its many initiatives. I wish I’d known about them when I was in need of their services, but I’m VERY glad I know about them now. They are doing great things to put our youngest generation and their families on solid ground, even in spite of some terrible odds and circumstances.
To find out more about Child Care Resources, their mission, or how you can help, visit their website at http://www.childcare.org/.