In this month’s State of the Union, President Obama pushed for increased financial support to make child care more affordable for parents. We know that child care isn’t cheap. Excellent child care is very expensive. Ask any parent that pays full tuition at one of our Day Early Learning centers. This is why our generous donors contribute to a scholarship program for families who qualify based on income. But these scholarships can’t help everyone and they only go so far.
The President called for a significant increase in the federal child care tax credit. This would help a lot of working families. But families aren’t the only ones that would benefit from an investment in child care. We know that children who attend quality child care programs, like Day Early Learning, will be better prepared for school. Our parents tell us frequently how much their children have learned from the great experiences provided every day by our teachers. But improved school performance isn’t it either.
Research has shown that when families have access to quality child care, parents are better at their jobs and business’ bottom line will improve as well. Consider the following findings from a study out of UC Berkley’s Labor Center:
- Child care enables parents to work. Working parents in the U.S. miss an average of nine days per year due to breakdowns in child care. Unreliable child care costs American business more than $3 billion per year.
- Reliable, convenient child care can reduce turnover. Mothers with access to reliable child care were 60% more likely to be employed after two years than those who did not.
- Access to good child care results in employees feeling less stress and worrying less at work. Businesses cited higher concentration at work and fewer performance problems. Nonparents report that their own work environments improve when coworkers’ child care needs are met.
Good child care that is affordable to families is a necessity for our community and state. Early Learning Indiana will continue to provide this service to families and advocate for policies that support families who struggle to afford it. Quality child care must be part of a comprehensive early childhood education system. It is an imperative for a strong economy, strong businesses, strong schools and strong families.
Learn more about our Day Early Learning centers and tuition assistance program at www.DayEarlyLearning.org. Our Child Care Answers outreach department is also ready to help you find child care in our community at www.ChildCareAnswers.com.
Ted Maple, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Early Learning Indiana