A family child care provider since 2017, Josalyn Williams says life has changed drastically since the pandemic. She used to care for 13 children in her Minneapolis home — now she’s down to four.
“The families that are gone, I’m not charging them to hold their spot,” Williams said, “Most of the families that left aren’t getting paid at all right now either so I didn’t want to add that stress to their situation.”
Williams and her husband have five children. Her husband is still employed hauling gas, but things have been much slower than usual.
“It has impacted my income, it really has,” she said. “Think Small helped with an emergency grant and I have applied for everything else possible, but if my husband wasn’t working right now, I don’t think I could afford to be open.”
Williams says she made the decision not to close because her families need her. “Two of my parents are police officers. One is a nurse. They are working in a critical field where they are needed on a daily basis, and their shifts have even gotten longer, so I wanted to make sure that they are still able to go to work.”
William’s first priority these days is to make sure everyone is safe and healthy. “That it’s clean, that I’m providing a good service and space for the kids.” She hired someone to clean her home because she is not able to find the supplies that she usually is stocked up on.
Another goal is keeping her program, Expanding Minds Childcare, operating as consistently as possible.
“The things I do on a daily basis have been interrupted. We usually work with Reading Corps weekly. I have a coach that comes and helps us out,” Williams said. “We’ve been really focusing on making sure the kids are ready for school and they’re hitting all of their developmental goals. The virus has thrown everything off so bad, and I’m worried that all the progress we’ve made with the kids will be gone, and that it’s going to be hard for those who start school next year.”
Williams says the kids who are no longer coming are sad. “They miss it a lot and it’s so hard to explain,” she said. “I just feel so bad. The routine has changed so much. It just feels like chaos right now.”