Did you know that there are approximately 12.5 million children in some sort of regular child care arrangement? Yet there are communities across the country where the supply of child care doesn’t meet the need for child care. Child Care Aware® of America helped states quantify families’ child care needs through our Mapping the Gap™ project, and learned a lot about child care gaps across the US:
- 4 in 5 children under age three in Alaska don’t have access to licensed child care.
- 2 in 3 children under age 13 in North Dakota don’t have access to licensed child care.
- 2 in 5 children under age six in Massachusetts don’t have access to licensed child care.
As you can see, even just a snapshot of our findings reveals a child care crisis. Child care supply often falls short of meeting the demand, leaving families with few choices for their child when they go to work.
Looking for solutions? Look no further than Child Care Resource and Referral agencies.
While closing gaps in child care access may seem like a daunting task, Child Care Resource & Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) work tirelessly in communities across the country to do this work every day. Our latest report, Closing the Gap: How CCR&Rs Can Help Communities Meet Their Child Care Supply and Demand Needs, highlights examples of CCR&Rs and state-level advocacy organizations working across the country to close gaps in their communities or states. Some of these stories include:
- State funding increases in Iowa allowed CCR&Rs to expand their Recruitment and Retention Specialist role to “Community Development Specialist” positions at each CCR&R. These Community Development Specialists both recruit and support child care providers, as well as conduct outreach to business and community stakeholders to address lack of quality care throughout the state.
- The Oklahoma Child Care Resource and Referral Association is leading the Oklahoma Right Start Infant-Toddler project, consisting of quality improvement planning, training, and 30 hours of one-on-one coaching from a CCR&R infant-toddler specialist.
- Child Care Aware® of Kansas collects child care providers’ desired capacity so they can more accurately measure the child care gaps across the state. They find that collecting this data point helps them get a better sense of the real child care need in communities, which helps them deploy resources, like training and recruitment strategies, more effectively.
CCR&Rs can’t do it alone though. Efforts to close child care gaps must be accompanied by policy changes at the federal, state, and local levels. We need people like you to take action to help close child care gaps across the country and in your own community – will you join us?
Have you had difficulty finding child care? Do you know a family who has struggled to find child care? Share your story with us!