WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Early Tuesday morning, House and Senate Appropriations leaders released their proposed fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill, including more than $2.8 billion in funding increases for core federal early learning and care programs. Notably, Congress included $8 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This represents a 30% increase over the fiscal year 2022 funding level, or $1.85 billion in additional program funding. Read more.
‘Stressed and Desperate:’ Behind Minnesota’s Child Care Crisis
Child care providers in the state are doing what they can to boost wages and make the field more attractive to workers. But they face a tough financial reality.
Dawn Uribe, owner of Mis Amigos Spanish Immersion Preschool in Hopkins, has had to make some hard choices amid an ongoing worker shortage in the child care industry.
“I want our teachers to have a workable, livable wage, and I’m trying to make it so that our teachers can get paid like elementary school teachers,” she said. “That means that we have to charge our parents a lot of money, and that prices some of our families out.” Read more.
MANKATO, Minnesota — A new report from the Center for Rural Policy and Development examines the child care crisis in Greater Minnesota and how different communities are addressing it.
Child care capacity in rural Minnesota has been on a steady trajectory downward since the early 2000s, according to the report.
Family (in-home) child care providers in Greater Minnesota are leaving the field at a faster rate than people entering it; they provide a bulk of child care in rural regions.
"There is no silver bullet to this. No one is going to come along and rescue anybody unless something extremely major happens," said Marnie Werner, vice president of research and operations at the Center. Read more.
Child care businesses in Greater Minnesota are losing employees faster than they’re gaining new ones, and it’s exacerbating existing worker shortages and limiting care options for parents in rural communities.
That’s one of the main takeaways from a Tuesday report issued by the Mankato-based Center for Rural Policy and Development (CRPD). The report is partially the result of a fall 2021 survey of economic development officials, local leaders, and other stakeholders around the state involved in child care and child care policy. Read more.
At Little Learners Center in Ada, Minnesota, owner Karen DeVos struggles with securing a permanent staff at her child care center. “It’s difficult finding a workforce who wants to stay in this field where it’s high stress, it’s a lot of work, it’s different every day. And while our wages are competitive, you can go to another job and earn something similar and not have to worry about taking your job home with you,” DeVos said.
DeVos was among a group of child care advocates who spoke last week during a virtual gathering organized by the Center for Rural Policy and Development. Child care providers discussed the various challenges they are facing with their businesses and organizations and called on elected officials and members of the public for help. Read more.
The country is in the midst of a burnout crisis. In a recent American Psychological Association Work and Well-Being Survey, large proportions of American workers said that they felt stressed on the job (79 percent), plagued by physical fatigue (44 percent), cognitive weariness (36 percent), emotional exhaustion (32 percent), and a lack of interest, motivation, or energy (26 percent). Such measures are up significantly since the pandemic hit. Read more.
Waiting lists are getting longer, and child care centers say they’re losing workers to fast-food chains with better wages and benefits.
On the Senate floor in early August, just two days before lawmakers voted to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, four senior Democrats came out to lament what they believed to be the bill’s biggest omission: child care.
“We cannot simply vote on this package and call it a day,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said. “Our child care system isn’t just stretched thin; it is broken.”
Less than two months later, the extent of that brokenness is clearer than ever. Public schools are fully reopened, and most pandemic-era restrictions are relaxed. But working conditions for families with kids who need child care are not back to normal. For both workers and parents, already-grim trends in child care have only gotten worse since the pandemic began: program costs have increased, while waiting lists in several states number in the tens of thousands. Read more.
While there is much to celebrate about the Inflation Reduction Act, one group was left on the outside looking in: parents with young children. Child care, once thought a likely inclusion, was cut from the final reconciliation package. Although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to “keep fighting” on child care, there is no clear plan to save a dying sector relied on by millions of parents. The good news is that a viable bipartisan path has already been laid out. Read more.
Megan Taylor was expecting child-care help. Taylor and her husband, a Navy doctor, live in San Diego. As a military family, they are eligible for a low-cost slot at the on-base child-development center or, failing that, assistance paying for a community program. But Taylor’s son has been on various wait lists for 21 months—since before he was born. He’s 15 months old.
The San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported that a staggering 4,000-plus families like Taylor’s are on the Navy’s waiting list in San Diego alone. The problem is not isolated to one branch or base. The fact that military families are struggling so badly to find care for their kids is a keeled-over canary for the rest of us; the military’s child-care system is often held up as America’s best-case scenario. Read more.
The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act may have been a win for Democrats and President Biden on climate, the US economy and prescription drugs, but for women it falls short of its potential on key policies.
The Democrats’ ambitious plans at points included universal pre-kindergarten, lower child care costs, paid family and sick leave and the enhanced child tax credit, among other provisions, but those were ultimately eliminated during negotiations. Those cuts became the ninth time in just two and a half years where proposed legislation aimed at helping women and families have been removed, according to a CNN analysis of data from the Congressional Budget Office and Congressional Research Reports.
Paid family leave alone has been trimmed down or dropped five different times since March 2020. Read more.
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