During the last several months, most of us have seen or heard a child on the other end of a Zoom session. Many parents and caregivers have gained new “office assistants” this year as they work from home: their children.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, parents and students alike have gained greater appreciation for their schools, teachers, and available education resources.
According to the Center for American Progress, the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially result in a loss of 4.5 million childcare slots nationwide. Many childcare centers initially closed in March 2020 to respect social distancing and new local and state safety guidelines after the awareness of COVID-19 spread along with the virus.
Some of these education facilities unfortunately won’t reopen due to the financial strain currently placed on their organizations and this field in general. This paired with childcare costs continuing to increase (the expenses for child care facilities has risen 47% during the pandemic) and the instability of our economy resulting in decreasing enrollment numbers has caused great stress on an already fragile industry.
While quality child care/early education opportunities have become scarcer as the pandemic progresses, it has challenged workforce development and become a separating factor for success in America. As a major step in mitigating this equity challenge, United Inner City Services (UICS) is proud to announce its expansion to a third early education facility/school in the Northland, at 6600A Royal Street in Pleasant Valley, MO.
UICS-North Center recently opened (to transitioning/returning families in August and new families in September) to serve new infant, toddler, and pre-K students upon gaining occupancy of a space formerly occupied by EasterSeals Midwest (ESMW). This ESMW facility specialized in providing students with different needs and disabilities education and advocacy and offering resources to families.
UICS’ assumption of operations in this space enables stability for children and families that would otherwise have been displaced, along with continuing employment for educators and administrators from the previous early childhood provider. They bring with them their strengths and experience with supporting differently-abled students.
“UICS-North is the only Early Head Start facility in the Northland serving birth to age three, and we accept all levels of developmental and physical disabilities with no additional cost.” shared Nissa True, UICS-North Center Early Learning and Inclusion Director.
“We offer medically fragile children an all-inclusive setting where their needs are met by being staffed to handle those needs and help them be incorporated into the classroom and activities.”
Enrollment slots for Early Head Start, Head Start, and tuition-based families are now available, along with early education teaching positions.
In a time where childcare providers face significant hardship, UICS is grateful for the community support and opportunity to serve new students and families in the Northland. Expanding our reach to families in Clay and Platte Counties ensures increased options and access for high-quality early education.
With continued support, we will be in a much stronger position to serve Kansas City’s littlest learners with high quality education from the start and provide essential resources to our community.
If you would like to support UICS’ work and our community impact, please check out our different Ways To Give here.