Event | July 1, 2020

New Ohio Report Shows Impact of Child Care Crisis in Ohio

The infant-and-toddler child care crisis creates challenges for parents, children, and employers

This week, business leaders released a new research report from ReadyNation Ohio, “Want to Grow Ohio’s Economy? Fix the Child Care Crisis.” The report details how the infant-and-toddler child care crisis has had a devastating impact on businesses and working families in Ohio.

Participants discussed the economic losses as well as the critical impact on infant and toddler development during a virtual report release event. The brief is available HERE.

Speakers at the event included Gary James, President, Dynalab Inc., Jed. E. Metzger, CEO and President, Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce, Lynanne Gutierrez, Policy Director and Legal Counsel, Groundwork Ohio, Cyndy Rees, Director of ReadyNation Ohio, and Ohio parent Kayla Johnson.

In Ohio, there are approximately 416,000 children under age three, and two-thirds of the mothers of these infants and toddlers work outside the home.

“As an employer, I understand how critical it is for working families to have access to quality child care. It gives parents the confidence to come to work and be productive every day allowing our company to meet the high demand of manufacturing needs throughout the world,” said Gary James, President, Dynalab Inc.

While child care programs are a critical workforce tool, the current child care system does not meet the needs of Ohio families or employers.

About two-thirds of Ohio parents surveyed reported that finding affordable, quality child care is a problem in their area. Ohio has a particularly serious problem with infant toddler child care “deserts,” with more than four children under age three for each licensed child care slot. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the issue is even more severe at this time.

There is also the problem of affordability. Infant care in a center in Ohio averages just over $10,009 per year, about the average cost of in-state public college tuition, at $10,790 per year.

These are figures that can be daunting for any parent, much less a working parent who has to give a huge portion of his or her income just to account for child care.

Finally, there’s the issue of quality. Inadequate quality can lead to a variety of problems, from a lack of stable, consistent caregivers, to safety concerns. Ohio has made a bold commitment to ensure that by September 2020 all publicly funded child care programs must participate and be rated in our Step Up to Quality (STUQ) five-star rating program.

“As we advance equitable early learning and healthy development strategies, including child care to support all young children during COVID-19, we must ensure that they reflect brain science by meeting the unique needs of infants, toddlers, young children and their families,” said Lynanne Gutierrez, Policy Director and Legal Counsel, Groundwork Ohio.

“Preserving quality child care capacity and prioritizing early childhood systems that serve young children and families must be a priority for short and long-term economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19. This requires urgent and thoughtful leadership at both the state and federal level to prioritize investment and policy that advance equitable access to quality child care for young children and their families.”

What is the end result of these child care challenges from an economic perspective?

Families lose an average of $3,350 per working parent, due to lost earnings and because of more time spent looking for work. For the 11 million parents of children under age three, this adds up to $37 billion in lost earnings nationwide every year.

Businesses themselves lose $1,150 per working parent due to greater hiring costs and reduced revenue. This adds up to $13 billion across the country each year.

Finally, we as taxpayers lose an average of $630 per working parent because of lower income tax and sales tax revenue, which totals $7 billion per year.

Those numbers add up to an annual $57 billion burden nationwide. Based on Ohio’s share of our nation’s overall gross domestic product, that means that the state’s economy could be losing about $1.7 billion per year.

The underlying causes of those annual losses are obvious: Parents of young children report that they spend an average of two fewer hours per week at work due to child care problems. This means arriving late, leaving early, and unexpectedly having to take time off, all of which negatively impact productivity and job performance.

These factors hurt worker productivity, potentially damage company performance, increase costs and reduce tax revenue, and, all the while, harming children by often forcing parents to choose between inadequate care or no care at all.

“As the Lima/Allen County Chamber President I can tell you access to quality child care programs is a positive work force tool and one that helps attract businesses to locate in our community. “ Jed E. Metzger, CEO, Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce. “What is even more important is that we have new businesses moving in and businesses are ramping up now and there will be an even great demand.”

The report demonstrates that it is critical for parents to be able to access affordable, high-quality child care, which supports both the employee and the employer.

“Ohio has made progress in providing access to quality, affordable child care programs but we have a long way to go. Business leaders appreciate the historic funding provided in the recent state budget by Governor DeWine and the legislature. The fiscal impact of COVID-19 on child care has also been historic, resulting in less access for working families,” stated Cyndy Rees, State Director, ReadyNation Ohio.

“Senators Brown and Portman, we urge you, as champions of working families, and leaders promoting quality child care, to help our parents get back to work and help all our kids learn and grow by continuing to provide economic relief to sustain the child care sector now, and to provide federal funding to increase access to quality affordable child care going forward. It’ll take all of us working together - local, state and federal government, employers and communities to solve the child care crisis.”

Click below for the video of the report release event

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