IAFC in the News: CPS, Universal Pre-K, and Child Care

June 30, 2021

(via Chicago Tribune) Child care centers across Chicago relied on state and federal funding to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic as enrollment plunged.

Now, with restrictions lifted and parents returning to work, the need for child care continues to grow.

One issue threatening private day cares is that they are losing 4- and 5-year-olds to CPS preschools and being urged to focus on caring for infants and toddlers, but infants are the “most expensive population to serve,” said Ejeh with Illinois Action for Children.

Many private child care centers depend on the income from pre-K students to offset the costs of caring for infants, said Beata Skorusa, head of school at the Montessori Foundations of Chicago in McKinley Park.

Infants and toddlers require fewer children per teacher and extra amenities like cribs and changing tables. Since preschools can have more students per teacher and classroom, they have a lower per-pupil cost.

“Child cares get more money serving older kids than they can get with younger children,” Ejeh said. “That piece wasn’t really figured out, how to maintain current levels of compensation.”

Read the full Chicago Tribune article here.