August 26, 2021
After working at home for over a year, families are looking for childcare options again. Except, there's no childcare available.
Daycares and similar services make a parent's work more manageable. Sadly, a widespread childcare worker shortage has swept through the United States, keeping many parents at home instead of returning to the workplace.
Despite many attempts to increase childcare staffing, there's no amount of pay, benefits, or bonuses that can bring back childcare workers.
This is concerning because the childcare industry has always struggled to keep their staff. In fact, the childcare staffing shortage cost many people their careers before the pandemic because it was too expensive or low quality.
These barriers have become worse, leaving many working parents at a loss.
The shortage of childcare workers is a result of several issues that intensified during the pandemic. For more in-depth statistics on this section, you can read this article from Third Way--an American organization dedicated to research and advocacy.
First, childcare costs have been rising consistently since the 1970's as more women entered the workforce. Naturally, childcare centers had to increase their staff and services quickly. These adjustments were expensive and American families have been paying the price.
To make things worse, the COVID-19 crisis shut down childcare centers nationwide for several months, and they could only reopen with severe restrictions. Following CDC guidelines put more financial strain on childcare services and now many families are stuck on long waiting lists.
The biggest problem is this: childcare jobs hiring new employees post-pandemic can't seem to find anyone interested.
It's not a problem of finding quality employees; it's a problem of finding workers, period. It's difficult to incentivize a job that is so labor-intensive with typically low pay. As a result, childcare hiring has come to a standstill.
Daycare centers across the nation are relying on Biden administration funding to keep their doors open. However, with so many parents leaving the workforce to be full-time caregivers, this solution will not last forever.
The impact of childcare within American families has been life-changing for parents over the decades, but now the industry is failing and millions of households are affected.
What the childcare industry needs right now is committed workers who care deeply about children and the future. This could mean that you volunteer your own time or support your local childcare centers another way.
Financial gifts certainly help, but the biggest problem with childcare is accessibility. Accessibility comes with sufficient staff, organization, and pay. You might consider appealing to your company to provide childcare among their benefits. Or you can appeal to your local church to recruit volunteers.
Also, consider donating to childcare centers you know and love. High-quality supplies like bed linens are essential to a childcare's daily functioning. Consider buying a gift card from Ground Level Inc. to do your part.
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