ALICE Awareness Week Header Image
The current ALICE report contains data from 2018. It is two years behind. Therefore, the information reflected in the current report does not include the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on households living below the ALICE threshold.
United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County
is partnering with other United Ways in our region to
gather information on the impact of the COVID-19
pandemic on our local communities. The results of
the survey will gauge community needs and inform
where additional services are needed. The United
Way COVID Impact Survey is electronic and can
be completed on a computer or mobile device.
Paper copies are available by contacting UWHR. 
The survey can be taken English or Spanish.

To take the survey, go to
In Monday's email, we focused on the impact of housing issues on individuals and families living below the ALICE threshold. Today, we focus on child care, specifically for early childhood from birth to pre-kindergarten.
Child care is the second most expensive item in the family budget for households with children living below the ALICE threshold. Indeed, across all United for ALICE partner states, when a family has two or more children in child care, that becomes the most expensive household budget item, exceeding housing costs. Read more... 

We’re all feeling the stress and strain of the pandemic. Parents with children feel it when weighing child care options against other demands for their limited time and budget: work, rent, mortgage, or other household budget items. Factor in time and space to provide support for their children’s virtual or distance learning and parents are spread pretty thin. Which is why many parents rely on paid child care services to help provide support to children while at work.
Limited options exist for working parents to send children to paid child care while they work but these vary greatly in cost, quality, and availability of space. All parents want their children to be safe, happy and healthy, but how do parents provide these things while they work? Go to work or work from home and try to juggle parenthood and work at the same time? Nationally, in 2020, one in four adults living in households with children reported having little or no confidence in their ability to pay their next rent or mortgage payment on time. Read more . . .

Single parent families are more likely to fall below the ALICE threshold, making it difficult to afford quality child care on a single income. Indeed, ALICE workers in hourly jobs find themselves faced with the choice of picking up a few extra hours at work but knowing that means additional costs in child care. Many working parents with children in child care end up leaving the labor force and stop looking for work altogether largely due to seemingly insurmountable challenges related to scheduling, transportation and child care issues. 

Not only is child care essential to allow parents to work, it also helps children to be prepared for kindergarten. Without quality child care, children may not be as ready for school. Without quality K-12 education, students do not gain the important skills they need to advance to sustainable jobs. And without affordable higher education, students are more likely to incur debt and miss out on opportunities for job advancement.
Housing and Education Annual Costs, U.S., 2017
At the state and local levels, child care centers have benefited from CARES Act funding set aside to help support businesses and community members through the pandemic. Funding for child care programs allows families with children to stay at or return to work. Governor Ralph Northam recently announced $65.8 Million to increase access to child care and help providers keep their doors open during the pandemic. Read More…

The City of Harrisonburg set aside $250,000 of its first round of CARES Act funding to support nonprofits in their work. Out of those funds, Roberta Webb Child Care Center was granted $16,500 to support child care for 28 city households while Second Home Learning Center received $20,500 for child care scholarships. Read more . . .

In Rockingham County, $250,000 of CARES Act funding was allocated towards community assistance including children’s services, food, shelter and utility assistance. The Elkton Town Council dedicated $2,500 each to Elkton Area United Services and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County to support their ongoing work and expanded hours during the pandemic. Read more . . .
Children growing up in our local community belong to families that look many different ways. Kids can have one or two parents, step-parents, foster parents, grandparents and other family members that can play a parental role. Some ALICE families may call on an extended network of friends, neighbors and caregivers to piece together coverage for child care when needed.

  • Are you a parent? Step-parent? Grandparent? Do you care for a young child or children in your life? 

  • What portion of your family’s budget goes towards child care? What would you do if your income was reduced and you could no longer afford to pay for child care?

  • Who was an important person outside of your immediate family who provided care for you growing up? How would your life have been different if they weren’t there to care for you?
Support families living at or below the ALICE threshold by creating a Facebook Fundraiser in support of child care scholarships across the community. $500 provides about 2 and a half months of child care for a local family, and every little bit helps make sure those scholarships are available for families who need them.

Child care and racial equity. As with many issues that impact ALICE families, disparity exists along racial and ethnic lines when it comes to obstacles to accessing affordable and quality child care. “Child care cannot be an afterthought during this crisis—our relief and recovery efforts must be rooted in racial equity. Doing so requires policymakers and advocates to consider the immediate need for action to address inequities, as well as the historic and structural racism that harms families and the field.” Read more . . . 

Learn more about nonprofit organizations in our community and the work they do to support single parents and families address child care needs in our local area:

  • Roberta Webb Child Care Center serves children through the Head Start program and the Virginia Preschool Initiative for children in high-need communities. Their mission is to serve ethnically diverse families by providing quality and affordable child care. Located in the Northeast Neighborhood of Harrisonburg City. 

  • Plains Area Daycare Center provides quality and affordable child care for birth through 12 years of age, with a special emphasis on providing scholarship assistance to low income families. Located in Broadway in Rockingham County. 
Did you learn something? Have an insightful reflection? Were you inspired to take action? Feel free to forward this email on to someone you know who may be interested in reading. Folks can continue to Sign Up for more emails throughout the week.