BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)— The pandemic has taken a toll on parents, children, and child care providers. As more and more parents head back to work, child care providers hope that things can get back to what they used to be.

When the pandemic first hit, some facilities did not know if they would make it.

Country Manor Day School Director Luanne Proffitt, “They started to take children out. We started sending kids homes with the slightest runny nose, so we couldn’t take any chances. As things started to progress more and more we closed for the month of April.”

Some said state grants were a saving grace.

“It’s really what kept us afloat. it was a struggle,” said Proffitt.

They continued to persevere through the storm despite the challenges.

Southside Child Development Center Owner and Director Elizabeth Andry said, ‘We’re the backbone. they need us, so we know that we are depended upon by these parent’s so that is what keeps us going.”

However, there still seems to be a major need in child care assistance.

Louisiana Policy Institute for Children Executive Director Dr. Libbie Sonnier said, “They are still in need of child care. They still need it in this time of the pandemic that we are currently in, one year later. They are struggling to afford child care. They were struggling prior to the pandemic, and that’s remained the same.”

This has caused the economy to suffer.

She said, “What we know from our own research too, is there’s a collective loss of 1.3 billion dollars from this state annually because families don’t have access to child care. You can’t have a thriving economy if people can’t go to work.”

Although the battle is not over, things are starting to look up

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we had over 70 percent of child care providers around the state that were closed now, we’re now over 90 percent of our child care providers that are open,” said Sonnier.

Proffitt said, “Enrollment is picking up at this point.”

Andry added, I probably get 4-5 calls a day for child care. It seems like everyone’s going back to work and the vaccine.”

If you are in need of child care assistance you can contact the Louisiana Department of Education for more resources.