Earlier this week the National Center for Education Statistics released results from its Early Childhood Program Participation Survey – and the results were both confounding and not terribly surprising when it comes to access and cost of quality care.
Like many Hoosier families, Americans raising young children face who took the nationwide survey shared that they experience challenges finding and paying for quality child care.
Nearly 6,000 families with children under age 5, who are not yet enrolled in kindergarten, were polled about factors that affect their child care choices, including cost, reliability and access to care. The survey’s key findings include:
- 31% of respondents cited cost as the primary reason they had difficulty finding child care
- 27% of those families surveyed said the availability of child care slots was the most common barrier to securing care.
- 22% of families said it was difficult to find quality child care.
These findings reinforce the critical work Early Learning Indiana and our partners do across the state each day. Through our partnership with the United Way and the All IN 4 Pre-K coalition partners, we have made great strides in expanding state-funded pre-K to give more low-income families. In 2018, 20 Indiana counties will be a part of On My Way Pre-K, expanding access to early learning opportunities. Our Partnerships for Early Learners team continues to focus on improving access to quality early education through capacity building grants, funding teacher scholarships and championing innovative family engagement practices among a myriad of other work. And, through Child Care Answers, we help to connect thousands of families to local child care options.
Yet, while progress is being made, big challenges remain. In Indiana alone there are a half million children under the age of 5 and only 35 percent of them are in high-quality programs. Nine Indiana counties do not have a single high-quality child care program. And, with one in four Hoosier families living in poverty, the cost of quality care remains out of reach for too many families.
Continuing to raise these issues and find solutions to these challenges is central to our mission – but we need your help. If you haven’t done so, please join our advocacy efforts by signing up to be an Early Learning Champion here to receive important updates and information about these and other issues impacting our littlest Hoosiers.
Together, we can make access to affordable, high-quality child care a reality for all Hoosiers and all Americans!