Child Care Deserts

January 03, 2019

Posted By
E3 Elevate Early Education

child care deserts

Do You Live In A Child Care Desert?

A child care desert is a census tract with more than 50 children under the age of five where there are no child care providers or so few options that there are more than three times as many children as there are licensed child care slots.  The Center for American Progress reports that child care deserts in Virginia and across the nation are more common in low-income areas. This is an important issue to address, especially in a state like Virginia where 74% of mothers participate in the labor force.

In Virginia:

  • 47% of non-hispanic/white people live in a child care desert
  • 48% of non-hispanic/black/African American people live in a child care desert
  • 50% of Hispanic/Latino people live in a child care desert
  • 63% of families in rural areas live in areas without enough licensed child care providers
  • 61% of low-income families live where the child care supply is low.

Despite these numbers, Virginia fares better overall than the average U.S. state where 51% of all people live in areas where child care is lacking.

How Do We Improve the Stats in Virginia?

E3: Elevate Early Education along with First Lady, Pamela Northam, the Virginia Children’s Cabinet and many other stakeholders in our state are working not only to increase the availability of early education programs, but to ensure that high qualityis at the centerpiece of our efforts.  Increasing access alone isn’t an acceptable solution for our state’s children.  Our goal is to increase access to HIGH QUALITY programs like The New E3 School, a mixed-income, demonstration-model school created using the latest research in child development and early education located in the Park Place neighborhood of Norfolk.

E3, in partnership with The UVA Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), business leaders, policymakers and philanthropists created The New E3 School to:

  • Be a prototype model school, helping to increase awareness about what high quality programs look like.
  • To demonstrate how a mixed-income model school can be successful.
  • To create innovative solutions for serving children from low-income families, like scholarship programs for those who cannot afford full tuition payments.
  • Utilize research-based curriculum that incorporates coaching and professional development for continuous improvement.
  • Demonstrates its’ success in preparing children for kindergarten.

E3, in partnership with The University of Virginia’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning is currently piloting the STREAMin3 Curriculum Model, which was developed for use in The New E3 School in over 50 private and faith-based classrooms across the state.   This curriculum is innovative, engaging and interaction-based using the latest developmental and early education research. The STREAM: Integrated, Intentional, Interactions (STREAMin3) Curriculum focuses on five core skills that form the building blocks for later learning and six STREAM skills – Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math to prepare children for success in kindergarten and beyond. The model includes a variety of activities and routines, coaching, assessments and professional development for teachers.

Virginia is making strides with the first lady making high quality early education a priority. Read the full report on child care deserts here.  For more information on the STREAMin3 Pilot click here.