A family child care provider for seven years, Tammy Neumann says the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting everyone hard. “Providers are doing their very best to protect their health, the health of their families, and to slow the spread while also continuing to provide for their families.”
Neumann runs Sam’s Small Ones from her home in New Prague. She closed for two weeks to assess the situation, but then reopened. She had five families and was caring for eight children before the virus and was down to three families and five children in recent days.
“Clients are scared. They’re trying to work and not lose their jobs,” she said. “Providers are scared. They’re trying to stay afloat. Everyone wants to remain healthy. Everyone is trying to do their best with an impossible situation.”
Neumann and her husband have two boys of their own, ages 10 and 13. Her husband has been working from home for more than three weeks and is hoping to return to the office sometime in May.
“I love kids, and love taking care of them. Watching them play, grow, and learn is so rewarding to me.”
Neumann cares for the children of three essential workers who are employed by a grocery store, a medical supply company and a mental health company.
“I’m most worried about more families leaving due to COVID-19. I have lost a significant amount of income from losing two families, and I hope and pray that more don’t choose to leave.”
She says her families are nervous too. They are scared about the unknown of this virus and not knowing how long things will be shut down for. They’re also worried about trying to find child care if she would decide to shut down.
“It’s been very hard, not knowing the exact right path to take,” Neumann said. “Do you close and risk losing families, or do you stay open and risk yourself and your own family’s health? Child care providers deserve a big pat on the back for all they do.”
Neumann says more funding for child care providers would be an excellent idea. She is worried how much longer family child care businesses will be able to make it. She says the school programs have taken a lot of kids away, even though they don’t get the one-on-one attention as they would in a family child care program.
“These kids are like my own kids,” she said. “Someone needs to advocate for family child care and stand up for us. We work so hard and we’re always so unappreciated it seems.”