By: Lynn Hulsey Access article
Boosting government funding to solve the child care crisis garnered mixed support from Dayton region legislators responding to questions about an issue that is hammering families and hindering businesses looking for workers.
Seven of the Dayton region’s 27 members of Congress and the Ohio Legislature responded to this newspaper’s questions about growing calls for reforms, including additional funding, to resolve the child care crisis and expand preschool options.
A Dayton Daily News investigation published on Sept. 12 found wide support among parents, child care providers, advocates, educators and business leaders for increased funding for child care and preschool. Among the findings:
There is broad consensus that the lack of access to affordable, quality child care and preschool is hurting families and the economy.
High-quality, year-around child care for one child costs $10,000 to $15,000 annually, too expensive for many families.
Expanded preschool is needed to prepare more children for kindergarten and set them up for success in school and work.
Businesses are struggling to find employees, and lack of child care is a key reason.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing problems and fueled an exodus of women from the workforce.
“The idea that the market can take care of this challenge is just a fallacy. We know this is a broken market,” said Warren County Commissioner Shannon Jones, a Republican former state legislator who is president and CEO of Groundwork Ohio, a Columbus-based nonprofit child advocacy group. “I understand that there are not unlimited resources and we have to be able to make choices. But we know that quality child care has some of the highest return on public investment.”