Report | August 20, 2021

Want to Strengthen Texas’ Economy? Fix the Child Care Crisis

Impact of infant-toddler child care challenges felt by families, employers, and taxpayers

Texas’ working parents know how difficult it is to find child care that’s accessible, affordable, and high-quality. This problem is particularly acute for parents of very young children, as infant and toddler care is typically the least available and most expensive. Further, children under age three are experiencing one of the most crucial periods of brain development. Texas employers know the economic impact of these child care challenges will only worsen as the child care crisis continues.

Our ReadyNation 2019 national study examining the economic impacts of the nation’s infant-toddler child care crisis on working parents, employers, and taxpayers describes the consequences: an annual cost of $57 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue. An overwhelming 86 percent of primary caregivers of infants and toddlers said problems with child care hurt their efforts or time commitment at work. Meanwhile, productivity problems cause employers to lose $12.7 billion annually due to child care challenges faced by their workforce. Estimates from the national data suggest that the lack of reliable child care for working parents of young children, up to age 3, could come to $4.9 billion in annual costs for Texas.

ECE and high-quality child care help everyone in society, from kids to their families to employers who rely on skilled and motivated associates. Employees are more highly motivated when they know that their children are getting the best care possible.

Sandy Dochen, Former Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility, IBM

The business leaders of ReadyNation in Texas are urging lawmakers to continue to invest in child care with a focus on quality, accountability, and defined outcomes. In particular, we must increase the quality of early education by ensuring that all providers are in the Texas Rising Star system, ensure accountability for how state dollars are spent on child care, and provide support to enhance our child care workforce. COVID-19 has shone a light on an already struggling industry. Now is the time to ensure that our child care system works for Texas families.

The stakes are enormously high for the many Texas families who depend on parents’ employment, as well as for children, who depend on nurturing, stimulating environments for healthy brain development during the first three years of life. Action and innovation now will improve life outcomes for Texas children today and strengthen the Texas workforce and economy both now and in the years to come.

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