MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Department of Human Resources says 63% of the state’s 2,410 child care facilities are now open after most closed in the spring because of COVID-19.
The department said in a news release that only 12% of child care providers were open for business in March because of the pandemic. The department said reopening is a positive sign for parents.
“This is good news at a time when many parents and guardians are gradually returning to their normal daily lives outside of the home,” Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner said in a statement.
The department said that, so far, $7 million in financial aid has been provided to 501 child care providers through the Temporary Assistance for Stabilizing Child Care grant program.
The department conducted a July survey of providers this summer. The survey found 58% of the 1,062 providers who responded said they have experienced financial challenges because of COVID-19.
Some providers planned to open in August, and several said they were uncertain when they will reopen. Safety and fear of the coronavirus were the top barriers to reopening cited by survey participants.
Locations of open child care facilities and information about the grant program can be found at www.dhr.alabama.gov/child-care/.