The effects of COVID-19 on the 2021 Study: The goal of the 2021 Local Child Care Market Rate Study was to perform a census of approximately 1,000 licensed providers in the state. This is in contrast to previous studies where researchers designed a stratified sample of 50% of the providers in the state (about 500 providers). Unfortunately, the onset of COVID-19 seems to have had a detrimental effect on the supply and demand of child care throughout the state. Ultimately, the researchers were only able to make contact with about 70% of licensed providers statewide. Of these, only 447 providers completed the survey. Reasons for not completing the survey included: not serving children in the last month (a sign on decreased demand), serving only subsidized children (disqualified for no private payers), or too busy to complete the survey. In fact, a handful of providers discussed how COVID-19 had made it difficult to conduct business while keeping all employees and children safe from the virus. A few providers were angered at researcher attempts to conduct the survey and the associated outreach performed by the state.
Effective 5/1/19, DSS issued guidance on FFY2019 POC rates. The new rates bring the daily POC rates up to between 48% and 62% of the 2018 market rates- with an average being 59% of the 75th percentile of the 2018 market rates. The current rates reflect an increased rate for most providers and no change for a small number of providers. The Market Rate Study proposed a reduced payment for some of the providers who are curretnly in a "no change" status but DSS chose to grandfather the higher Market Rate so no provider experienced a rate reduction.