An astounding 6.7 million children live in a single-parent household with a nonstandard hours (NSH) schedule. These workers are the fuel keeping our 24/7 economy running; they power the services that keep businesses running. Workers with NSH schedules don’t just keep things moving, but they also work nights and weekends to deliver services, care for us, keep us safe, and are prepared to step in when disaster strikes. Some NSH workers are student-parents and many work more than one job just to pay the bills and provide for their own families. So as CCAoA advocates for all families to have access to quality, affordable child care, we know that this is an especially tall order for families working a NSH schedule.
One of the most exciting things about working for Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) is the incredible emphasis put on research to drive policy “asks” and advocacy efforts. We spend a lot of time hashing out the best language to use to be sure that our messaging is relevant, appropriate, and research-informed. For the research team, there’s nothing like knowing that the reports and analyses we put a lot of effort into are actually being read. However, the tremendous network of advocates who go to CCAoA for resources do more than read—they take action!
For this post, research is collaborating with Child Care Works to give you some ideas on how to use CCAoA’s most recent, research-based resource, the 2018 State Fact Sheets to advocate for change.
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The evidence is clear - children who participate in high-quality programs during their early years demonstrate lasting effects in IQ, boosted academic and economic achievement, and lower incidences of childhood obesity and chronic illness. With nearly 15 million children under 6 who may need child care each day, the stakes have never been higher for families across the United States and for our economy. Economists have shown that investing in high-quality child care has proven to result in a 13 percent return on that investment, per child. Families without access to quality child care due to high cost, irregular work hours, or inadequate supply, are at an extreme disadvantage; their children and our society lose out. Help for families struggling to pay for quality child care is pivotal to supporting quality child care across the country.
For more than 10 years, Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) has reported on the unaffordability of child care for parents in states across the country. We’ve been expanding that reporting by diving deeper into county-level costs and exploring national, state-and community-level financing solutions to provide working families with some relief. Even as we’ve kept discussions on the unaffordability of child care going strong, we are often asked, “If parents are paying too much of their household budgets on child care, why are child care providers still struggling to make ends meet?” It’s a good question – one that I’ve had since I started CCAoA!