Community Leaders Discuss Importance of Home-Based Child Care
A ReadyNation report addresses the needs of the workforce of today and tomorrow while reinforcing national security
In commemoration of Veterans Day, business, military, and community leaders came together on November 11 to release a new report from ReadyNation Ohio, “Home Based Child Care: A Surprising Key to Keeping the Ohio Workforce Strong.” The report details the importance of home-based child care (HBCC) to our local communities, impacting businesses and working families.
“Home-based child care and quality instruction sets the foundation for lifelong learning, helping to build a strong workforce for tomorrow,” said Joe Luckring, PNC regional president for Akron and ReadyNation member. “The investment in early childhood education generates an economic return in the form of long-term family and societal cost savings by contributing to further improvements in child development and wellbeing, as well as decreased spending on social services.”
Speakers at the event included Luckring; Matthew Baughman, Captain, U.S. Army National Guard; Krista Allison, Early Education and Effective Practice Strategist at Stark Education Partnership, Great Start for Great Futures; Kelly Scaglione, owner, Kelly’s Kids Family Child Care, a Five-Star Step Up to Quality child care provider; and Autumn Arkenburgh; a parent whose child attends Kelly’s Kids Family Child Care.
A separate ReadyNation national survey of 812 working parents with children under the age of 3 found that a lack of affordable, high-quality child care costs our economy $57 billion every year. That number comes from three key impacts: lost productivity, lost earnings, and lost tax revenue.
The new report builds upon this by digging deeper into the issue, finding that HBCC accounts for 97 percent of all child care settings and serves almost half of the children ages birth to 5 who are in care. HBCC is particularly important for infants and toddlers, and children from families with low incomes, and those living in rural areas. Further, HBCC is an essential support for the Ohio workforce, with many parents relying on this care so that they can go to work and support their families. Paid HBCC generates $283 million in revenue in Ohio annually.
In the wake of COVID, Ohio faces a worsening child care crisis: family child care providers declined by 25.5 percent during the pandemic. The child care crisis has far-ranging impacts, including on working families. Working parents need a safe and nurturing environment for their children. Quality HBCC not only provides a safe environment, but it also provides age-appropriate learning to ensure that even our youngest children are meeting their developmental milestones. These interactions are critical to ensuring children are ready to enter kindergarten prepared to learn.
While child care is proven to be a critical workforce tool, it can also have a positive impact on our nation’s national security.
A full 77 percent of young adults ages 17 to 24 are ineligible for the military. The key factors are lack of education, poor physical fitness, and criminality. Early learning programs that provide safe, nurturing environments engage children in a meaningful way so that they enter kindergarten prepared to learn and succeed in school, setting the stage for more success in terms of academics, as well as often instilling better personal habits.
“For the first time in U.S. history, our military has not met its recruitment goals,” Baughman stated. “A key reason for this is that too many young adults lack the education to pass the initial military admissions test. Addressing this education deficit begins at birth. Home-based child care programs are the primary care provider for most working Americans. We must address the shortage of these programs to ensure all children who need access to care are accommodated.”
To help further HBCC, Stark County community leaders have come together to form the Great Start for Great Futures coalition. This community effort is bringing together the resources of the state and local community to ensure child care programs and other early care and education programs and tools are broadly accessible for anyone who needs them.
“The coalition is working to build a strong infrastructure of education models and tools for all Stark County children and their families. If someone is interested in exploring the possibility of opening their own licensed home-based child care program, please reach out to the Early Childhood Resource Center and they will help provide you with the information and resources you will need to build a Great Start for Great Futures in Stark County,” said Krista Allison, Early Education and Effective Practice Strategist at Stark Education Partnership, Great Start for Great Futures.
See photos from the event below:
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