In New York City, attempts are being made to collect the “broken pieces” by the pandemic from various fronts, but everything indicates that this path of economic recovery will be steeper for mothers with young children. And, even more so for Hispanics.
The report of Citizens Commitee for Children, the product of a survey conducted last summer, shows that the 41% of women with children between 25 and 54 years old have had trouble finding a job.
Meanwhile, men’s employment rebounded substantially: the proportion of fathers out of the workforce fell from 45% a 24%.
But if you dig deeper into the cross data with the Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, which portrays the effects of the pandemic, then it is very clear that 55% Hispanic women reported that even finding a job option, they cannot take it, because the costs of daycare or childcare would eat up their income.
Among non-Hispanic black women, the 46% reported not working, while that figure was 39% among non-Hispanic Asian women and 36% among non-Hispanic white women.
“Women of color are really being hit hard on many levels, such as loss of income and departure from the workforce due to childcare responsibilities. It seems that his recovery is slow at the moment “, concluded Jennifer March, executive director of the research group in an interview shared by the medio digital The City.
The women of the Big Apple surveyed, between April 23 and July 5, were two and a half times more likely than men of the same age range, to mention the high costs of a daycare, as the main reason for being out of the workforce, according to the analysis.
The matter could be further complicated, if you add to this equation that many mothers of very young children, who are not eligible for vaccines and still have the option of daycare, they are still afraid to send them to congregate sites.
In fact, of the total number of mothers consulted in this report, the 29% not only specified difficulties in finding open daycare centers during the harshest months of the pandemic, but was very scared for health reasons to send them to these child care centers.
Such is the case of the Ecuadorian immigrant, María Navarro, a Corona resident of Queens, who has four children and worked as a babysitter for a family in Manhattan.
“Now I am the babysitter for my children. When COVID-19 started, in March 2020, my employers canceled my work for fear of contagion. Since then I have not found any more work. And I prefer not to send the smallest one to a ‘day care’ because she is asthmatic. There with my husband’s work we continue to survive. I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to work anytime soon, ”said María.
Maria’s experience multiplies exponentially in thousands of Latino families in New York City, where even before the pandemic, less than 10% of the population could afford child care.
Looking for affordable daycare
For his part, Dawn Mastoiditis, Director of Child Care at Queens Community House, He acknowledged to local media that he is surprised that the number shown by these reports “is not even higher.”
“Historically, women have always been the primary caregivers, who had to stay home with the children, and the process for getting child care coverage is not easy ”, dijo Mastoridis a The City.
For parents with jobs that offer little or no documentation showing that they are working, or for those who face language barriers, the long wait times for resources such as child care vouchers and the amount of paperwork required to apply for these grants.
“If you take into account what you earn for part-time or minimum wage, and what you would have to pay for someone to take care of them, then you prefer to take care of them. My mother used to help me, but now she is also there to be cared for, “said the Dominican Marielbys Cedeño, resident of The Bronx, 35-year-old who worked in a nail salon.
Marielbys’s story is also very common: “I need to work because I am a single mother, but I will keep fighting until the child who is two and a half years old can go to Pre-K ”.
In predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods of The Bronx, Upper Manhattan and Queens Great recovery challenges are concentrated for thousands of families, but in towns like Port Richmond on Staten Island, the difficulties of hundreds of immigrant mothers who find themselves with minimal possibilities not only to go out to work, but to organize themselves to carry out community activities, have found initiatives such as Piñata Project from La Colmena organization.
There, dozens of mothers, mostly of Mexican originThey have organized days to make the traditional piñatas for Christmas and New Year, in the company of the little ones.
“We see a growing need for mothers with young children to find spaces for activities like never before, because they do not have trusted people to take care of them. So here they come and they can bring them. And they at the same time participate ”, he indicated Yesenia Mata, director of the Beehive.
Investing in child care at sight
Since the start of his campaign, now-New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams, who will take office in a couple of weeks, has put the most accessible child care as one of the most outstanding points in his vision of government.
In its 100 Steps to Recover NYC plan, it plans to offer more childcare options to low- and middle-income parents by converting commercial spaces and family buildings.
The plan describes Tax exemptions and credits for residential building developers, office building owners and other private building owners to create free space for these service providers.
“Growing up in South Jamaica, in Queens, my single mother struggled to balance work and caring for her children; often had to rely on friends or neighbors to take care of us, just to be able to earn money and put food on the table ”, stressed Adams.
The municipal authority that will replace Bill de Blasio, next January, in its programmatic lines has also made it clear that it has the reports that state that “hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, and women of color in particular, cannot enter to middle class simply because they cannot find a safe, accessible and affordable daycare”.
The Federal Government also envisions some changes that in the medium term could be considered a beacon of hope for millions of families.
The Biden administration’s 1.75 trillion Rebuild Better plan contemplates $ 400 billion for child care provisions and paid family leave.
The figures on this pending matter, communicated by the White House, indicate that the United States ranks 35 of the 37 countries rich in public investment in children under 5 years of age, in relation to GDP, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Only half of the children 3- and 4-year-old Americans attend school, compared to 90% in France, Germany and Great Britain.
Harder for low-income mothers
- 37% of mothers from communities of color They had difficulties completing the payment of all the bills during the toughest months of the pandemic, including problems completing the food basket according to the survey conducted by the Citizens Committee for Children.
- 26% of the women in this group without children also reported difficulties.
- 29% of mothers consulted had to cut hours in their work.
- 16% were forced to leave their jobs to be able to take care of their children.
- 19% decided not to search work options due to the limitation of not having someone to take care of their children
- 4% they were fired from their jobs.
Am I Eligible To Apply For Free Child Care?
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.