By Lynn Hulsey
At a time when companies are desperate to fill job openings, one statistic stands out sharply in a new statewide child care poll.
Sixty percent of Ohio moms who either don’t work or work part-time said they would go back to work if they had access to quality child care at a reasonable cost, according to the poll commissioned by Groundwork Ohio, a nonprofit that advocates for early childhood care and education.
“That’s really stunning. These are not small numbers,” said Shannon Jones, Groundwork president and CEO. “There’s no doubt that child care is an economic issue. Parents understand it’s key to their economic success. But really, all voters understand that it is the key to economic success.”
Seventeen percent of those asked disagreed that access to child care would cause them to go back to work and the remaining 23% had no opinion.
The poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies surveyed 800 registered voters with an oversample of 400 parents with children under the age of five in Ohio. It included nearly equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats and independents. Fifty-five percent of respondents were women and 45% were men.
The poll found that parents are struggling to balance work with child care responsibilities, Jones said, and are concerned about meeting the mental health needs of children amid the stress and upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eighty-one percent of those polled said the pandemic has put stress on them and their family, and 87 percent said it has stressed the mental health of kids in Ohio.