Posted: August 24, 2020
By: Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina and Child Care Services Association 

This is the first blog post of a three-part blog series.
Read Part 2 of this series: The ECE Role in Preventing Child Maltreatment – And Why it is Critical During the Pandemic
Read Part 3 of this series: Why ECE Builds Strong Families

As our lives are rocked by the repercussions of COVID-19, children are learning at home, relationships are disrupted and parents are juggling parenting and work. Many parents are working from home. Others must leave home to keep their jobs. Access to quality, affordable child care is a necessity for employees and employers. In this three-part series, we are focusing on the critical role of Early Care and Education (ECE) in creating safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments to prevent child maltreatment and strengthen families.

Right now, ECE educators and programs are under stress. Families with young children are stressed. Assuring the stability of our ECE system is essential so North Carolina can get back to business and families can thrive.

We all have a role to play in assuring safe, stable, nurturing environments for our children—policymakers, business leaders and community members—to assure our children thrive and we build a foundation for their future success. Investing in a sustainable, quality ECE system is fundamental to our society. It is good for kids. It is good for parents. It is good for business.  That is a winning equation that will have a great return on investment post-pandemic and beyond.

Part 1 – What is ECE and Why Should We Invest in it?

Early Care and Education (ECE), often called child care, includes settings in which children are cared for and taught by people other than their parents or primary caregivers with whom they live. It is foundational for a prosperous society. It serves many vital functions: an educational institution building young children’s developing brains; a caring place for children to develop social and emotional skills; a primary child maltreatment prevention system; a vital workforce support; and an economic driver.

ECE is a complex system of care and education that supports children’s well-being. Positive interactions are the foundation of healthy brain development, particularly in the first three years of life when 80 percent of brain growth happens. Quality ECE by a workforce educated in child development fosters caring relationships for children which increase their ability to thrive, adapt and learn into adulthood.

ECE is also a foundational support system for our workforce and economic development. Corporations, small businesses and community-based organizations need employees with secure child care and school arrangements to stabilize our economy. Employees depend on quality care for their children while they work. As ECE programs struggle to stay open during the pandemic, the lack of care impacts child well-being, family financial security and economic recovery.

This blog is also published by Child Care Services Association.

Child Care Services Association works to ensure affordable, accessible, high quality child care for all families through research, services and advocacy. We are a leader and advocate in child care services on the local, state and national level. We collaborate with many partners, businesses and stakeholders to address needs within the child care system.