ICYMI: Child Care Crisis Leading to ‘Untenable’ Situation
Dayton Daily News Investigation Finds Broad Consensus that Child Care is Crucial to Children, Families, and Businesses, Underscores Need for Increased Investment
DAYTON, OH – On Sunday, Dayton Daily News published a series of articles and opinion pieces examining how the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened challenges parents have long faced in finding quality, affordable child care. The articles also demonstrate how the child care crisis is affecting parents in the workforce – especially women – and setting back young children’s readiness for kindergarten.
As part of their investigation – Child care crisis: Costs, worker shortage leading to ‘untenable’ situation – Dayton Daily News interviewed two dozen child care experts, parents, business leaders, educators, and elected officials and reviewed several reports and studies on the child care crisis. Among the findings:
“The COVID-19 pandemic worsened challenges parents have long faced in finding affordable, quality child care; intensified problems companies have filling jobs; and set back efforts to help preschoolers get ready for kindergarten.”
“Our investigation found broad consensus that child care and preschool are crucial to families, children, businesses and the economy, and that it is time for solutions to be put into place to fix long-standing problems with affordability, access, quality and low pay for child care workers and preschool teachers.”
“Business leaders and child care experts say the connection between child care and workforce is twofold. ‘The spotlight has been shown on the critical support that child care and schools provide to the workforce,’ said Berta Velilla, CEO of Miami Valley Child Development Centers…’When we talk about what we do in our business, we support the workforce of today and the workforce of tomorrow.’”
“A study commissioned by Groundwork Ohio found increased child care subsidies would bring more parents into the workforce and said the advantages of providing high-quality care outweighs the cost of those programs.”
“Eighty-eight percent of parents believe expanded government support for child care would benefit parents and children.”
As part of the series, Groundwork Ohio President and CEO Shannon Jones wrote a guest column on why investing in quality child care supports Ohio children, families, and the economy:
“At a time when child care has become one of the top barriers to families returning to work and Ohio’s youngest children are not ready for school, quality child care is an essential investment in our children, families and economy.”
“Policymakers have long overlooked the importance of early childhood education, especially for Ohio’s most vulnerable children. The consequences of this failure are clear: Only 41% of Ohio children start kindergarten ready to learn.”
“Ohio cannot address its workforce challenges without recognizing the crucial role of quality child care in empowering parents to work and preparing children to thrive as adults. Investing in quality child care benefits us all — children, families, businesses and taxpayers. It’s time for our leaders to step up and do what’s so obviously right.”
Emily Broughton, Director of Marketing and Outreach at Preschool Promise, also wrote a guest column for Dayton Daily News urging state and federal policymakers to invest in high-quality early childhood education:
“The state of child care is in a crisis. If we believe that children are the future, then we need to start funding early childhood education and providing all children with the same opportunities for educational trajectory.”
“It is no secret that our current system is broken…We need the state and the federal government to make sure we can provide high-quality education for all children, regardless of race, parent work status, income level, gender, or birthplace.”
“Investing in early childhood education is investing in our future.”
Dayton Daily News also interviewed parents who are struggling to juggle work and parenting young children during the pandemic. Those interviews – published in Moms pivot, juggle to balance work and child care in pandemic – reveal how working mothers often bear the brunt of the child care crisis:
“’You have people that are making that $10 to $15 an hour range. They have to make decisions that I don’t have to make,’ [Kate] Vriner said. “I wish there were more options out there for families.’”
“’It’s just been a lot of setbacks, trying to be a working mother, trying to be an entrepreneur and having a child at the same time during this pandemic,’ said [Erica Blaire] Roby.”
“’Tired is the only thing I know,’” said Roby.
“She said it sometimes feels impossible to manage everything, especially with her husband out of state. ‘But we keep going forward because we don’t have a choice,’ Roby said.”
Groundwork Ohio is a committed, nonpartisan public-policy research and advocacy organization formed in 2004 that champions high-quality early learning and healthy development strategies from the prenatal period to age five, that lay a strong foundation for Ohio kids, families and communities. Learn more about Groundwork Ohio at groundworkohio.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.