Day Care Among Hardest Hit By Hurricane Harvey
Across Harvey-affected counties, 52 child care centers have permanently closed and an additional 65 are voluntarily suspended for up to three months, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The closures affect almost 5,000 children.
Without child care, parents face even more challenges adjusting to life after Harvey. Private child care centers in rural communities, often run by individuals, churches or nonprofits, have been particularly hard hit. Collaborative for Children, an early education nonprofit, found that almost 40% of 977 child care centers the center surveyed in the affected area had no flood insurance.
Small for-profit operations will have extra hurdles to recovery. The Federal Emergency Management Agency only provides public assistance to nonprofit centers. Directors of for-profit centers can apply for federal disaster loans through the Small Business Administration, but qualifications are difficult to meet for child care centers.
"For communities to be able to recover economically, you have to get your child care and early education programs up so people can get back to work," Save the Children Senior Director Jeanne-Aimee De Marrais told The Texas Tribune. "The communities are not going to get fully back up until the child care is back."