In a survey conducted by Rodel and the Delaware Readiness Teams, more than 300 Delaware parents and caregivers shared their thoughts about daily life during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, on topics ranging from child care to health screenings to economic stress.
The nonscientific survey was completed in July, before the delta variant and updated nation- and statewide mask policies were released. The survey aimed to gather information to help the Delaware Readiness Teams and other partners better serve families during the pandemic.
Compared to the 2020 survey results, a greater share of respondents was concerned about meeting financial needs this year compared to last year (32% versus 28%). While the share of respondents decreased, more than half were concerned about balancing family and work demands with caring for children.
Respondents replied that they were worried about:
In June, the Biden-Harris administration announced the passage of the child care tax credit in the American Rescue Plan, which provides the largest child tax credit in history. As of July 15, most families automatically received monthly payments of $250 or $300 per child depending on their kids’ ages.
“Even though advance child tax credit payments have eased some of the financial anxieties for some families — like putting food on the table and paying down debt — so many Delaware families are struggling with their work and life balance, all while protecting their children’s mental and physical health,” said Diane Frentzel, director of the Delaware Readiness Teams.
Before the pandemic, about half of respondents said their children attended public K-12 school, while 40% used full-time child care. However, during the crisis, those percentages dropped to 26% attending public K-12 school, while 34% were in full-time child care.
Not surprisingly, almost 40% of survey respondents indicated that their children were at home with a parent or caregiver. While 40% of respondents from New Castle County indicate that this is true, the percentage is lower for respondents in Kent (28%) and Sussex (7%) counties.
“My work schedule has shifted to where I’m in the office part time and at home part time, which has made it difficult to find child care,” said one of the DRT Family Survey respondents. “My previous child care provider was near my work, but now, since I’m at home part time, I can’t drive the 35 minutes every day.”
When responding to what accommodations would be helpful to support their child’s growth at home going forward, 71% of parents prioritized resources to aid child development and learning, as well as free online education programs, like the Readiness Teams’ Virtual Kindergarten Academies.
By the numbers
Just over 300 Delaware parents and caregivers of children ages 0-21 responded. The survey was conducted online from July 2-16. Data collected will be shared with state leaders, including but not exclusive to, the Delaware Department of Education, its Reopening Schools Task Force and the Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee, as well as district and charter leaders, legislators and the Delaware Early Childhood Council.
The Virtual Kindergarten Academy series provides an educational journey full of learning opportunities for families and their children entering kindergarten. Each month, the academy will focus on a different learning area. Parent sessions will be prerecorded and available on our website.
Upcoming Virtual Kindergarten Academies in English will be held the second Tuesday of each month from November to May. And new this year, there will be sessions for Spanish-speaking families the second Wednesday of each month, also from November to May. For more information, visit delawarereadinessteam.com.
Leeann Wallett is a communications and media specialist with Rodel. Full results of the survey can be found here.