Evolving Needs – Filling the Cracks of the Childcare Gap
By Nick S.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our families have been facing a plethora of ‘newness’ in our daily lives. Unfortunately, much of this has brought challenging times for our youth and young adults. Recently Gavin Newsom shared concern for teens, while noting self-harm and suicide were on the rise in California. Sacramento City Mayor Pro Tem, Angelique Ashby, noted that:
“Kids, especially teenagers on a day-to-day basis, face really tough challenges. Now they’re being asked to face them with a lot of handicaps, not having some of their strongest supports in place — teachers, or counselors, or friends, principals, or administrators, even grandparents that they can’t go see because they’re older.”
It’s undoubtedly been a struggle, keeping various things from slipping through the cracks, since COVID-19 started turning the “California Dream” into a nightmare. And the cracks keep proliferating in foundations everywhere as businesses close, schools shut down, and activities disappear. We see fissures form as family, friends, and neighbors lose their livelihoods. We see children and young people suddenly without opportunity. And I think to myself: there is no way we can let young people slip through these cracks.
There is a real and dangerous threat to the mental, physical, and emotional safety of young people as a result of the COVID-19 fallout. Not only are they at risk for falling through cracks, but we’re seeing the ground drop right out from under them.
The word “essential” has become a pervasive and persistent term suddenly, as we all contend with who, what, where, when, and why that applies. Right now, there are thousands of essential workers doing the good work to save lives, protect lives, and keep critical infrastructures moving in our communities. Many of these essential workers suddenly find their children stuck at home with schools closed, and options for childcare drastically changed. And while we generally think of “childcare” for our children ages birth through elementary school, this is a critical time to remember that teens and preteens are OUR children too. They need care, support, social-emotional development, and they need responsive caring adults in their lives more than ever.
We’re worried about teens. We’re worried about middle schoolers, who often fall in this “care gap” where options are less abundant, and yet their lives are suddenly both awkward and full of awakenings at the same time. So you know what, it’s time to try something new, and make sure we have care, and support, and options for middle schoolers and young teens right now.
We’re optimistic about finding solutions and opportunities to ensure that essential workers with young teens have options as quickly as possible. We may not be able to fix every problem caused by COVID-19, but we can all try to do our part. For some, that means staying home and flattening the curve. For others, it means saving lives or keeping critical infrastructures stable. For Continuing Development Incorporated, it means putting children at the center of our focus and supporting families in our communities. We will pour our hearts and minds into these cracks, and firm up foundations as we go.
As of April 15th, we will work to fill these ‘cracks’ in the foundations of our communities, through a new program for young adults – Pop Up Camp. The camp will launch in Rocklin, CA and will work with campers to stay engaged, (safely) interacting with peers and to help support the needs of our developing learners. For more information about Pop Up Camp, please visit https://www.cdicdc.org/popupcamp/
Source for Asbhy quote: