Child care must be a priority for legislators

‘Family-friendly’ leaders must fund child care

I very much appreciated the [Editorial: What Iowa can do to help parents secure affordable, quality child care] editorial in Sunday’s Register. Throughout the state, child care deserts exist. Our small towns and rural economies cannot grow without this support for families who need to work.

As a grandmother of four young children who need child care during the day so their parents can work, I see the difficulties that families face when trying to find and keep quality care, even in more populated urban areas. Our “family-friendly” elected officials must address this crisis.

The reason child care is largely unavailable has much to do with the availability of an early childhood workforce. Competent, caring and dedicated individuals want to work in this field, but cannot sustain their own families on $10 per hour on average, with few or no benefits. Nationally, over 40 percent of this workforce accesses some form of public assistance.

These salaries are stagnant because this industry depends on what young families can afford to pay, and some insufficient funding from public sources. If child care programs cannot hire and retain enough qualified workers, they cannot stay in business.

Iowa’s economy depends on this “workforce behind the workforce.” If we truly value children and families, we will find a way to address this crisis.

Originally posted here.