In a recent study published in Family Relations, constraints related to safety or financial needs dictated the decisions that low-income, single mothers made around childcare and schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In interviews of 34 low-income, single mothers of young children, mothers typically voiced that they had “no choice” and selected care to keep their children safe and provide for their basic needs.
The study’s authors note that it will be important to identify ways to assist resource-limited mothers in making childcare decisions and, further, to support them in the execution of those decisions, especially during emergency situations like the current pandemic.
“The lack of choice mothers feel in the care decisions for their young children during the COVID-19 pandemic is concerning. We talked to mothers about their care decisions for Fall 2020, and the angst mothers feel likely continues today in the midst of the surge of Delta-variant COVID-19 cases,” said lead author Melissa Radey, PhD, MA, MSSW, of Florida State University. “We need to find ways to increase choice. Providing timely, accurate information about the risk of COVID-19 and available care options is one first step to promote informed choice as well as the well-being of these vulnerable families.”