Strengthening Child Care and Early Education after COVID-19

new research, evaluation, and data agenda aims to help child care and early education leaders consider how COVID-19 has and will impact children, families, programs, and policies. The agenda gives leaders tools they can use to begin addressing racial inequities, developing new projects and data initiatives, and more. 

The context for child care and early education (CCEE) changed rapidly in March 2020 as the global pandemic caused the closure of child care programs and schools, widespread job loss, and negative impacts on the broader economy and family life. Black and Latino families and families with lower income experienced disproportionately negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of structural racism and a history of inequitable systems. Many of the negative impacts of the pandemic have directly impacted families’ access to high-quality CCEE.

As leaders in CCEE consider the implications of COVID-19 for children, families, policies, and programs, a research, evaluation, and data agenda that identifies key questions, research methods, and data needs will be a critical tool. This research, evaluation, and data agenda can (1) alert decision makers to racial and economic inequities in outcomes and promote tracking of key equity indicators, (2) encourage the development of new projects and data initiatives, (3) support the synthesis of information across projects, (4) identify key topics for consideration that may be otherwise overlooked, and (5) promote the application of knowledge to planning and development.