LIMA— The average cost to send a child to an infant care center in Ohio averages $10,000 per year, according to a new brief from ReadyNation Ohio, highlighting the economic need for affordable and quality childcare as more parents work outside the home.
The brief, which surveyed parents across the U.S. and Ohio, found that two-thirds of parents surveyed in Ohio said it was difficult to find affordable, quality childcare in their area.
The issue is even greater for parents of infants and toddlers, who require special care.
ReadyNation estimated that the lack of affordable, quality childcare costs the U.S. economy $57 billion each year due to lost productivity, lost earnings and lost tax revenue, as parents of young children are more likely to take time off work or leave early when childcare is an issue.
The group, made up of 2,700 business executives, is encouraging lawmakers to address the childcare affordability crisis and continue pushing for quality childcare reforms like Step Up to Quality, a tiered rating system for publicly funded childcare facilities in Ohio.
Jed Metzger, president and CEO of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce, who participated in ReadyNation’s presentation on the childcare crisis and the economy on Tuesday, said access to quality childcare programs is an asset when recruiting new companies to a community.
The issue is compounded by the coronavirus pandemic — and the new safety restrictions imposed on daycare facilities to prevent further spread of the disease — making it difficult for parents to return to work.
“I’ve (heard) from parents wanting to go back to work, or that have gone back to work, and the challenges they have getting quality and adequate daycare for their children,” Metzger said. “I’ve seen that from the company standpoint too, some variations in the work schedules to allow the employee to make sure they have their children properly taken care of or have daycare services for them. It’s becoming a challenge.”