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.
There are innovative solutions happening throughout the country, some of which we highlight in our new report, It’s About Time! Parents Who Work Nonstandard Hours Face Child Care Challenges. If you’re reading this, you probably already know the integral role CCR&Rs at the state and local levels play in all child care discussions – CCR&Rs truly understand the pulse of their communities and the child care landscape! They are the hub of many of the solutions and success stories we share in this report.
So, What Can CCR&Rs Do about NSH Child Care Challenges?
- Leverage your data. CCR&Rs are the primary source of data about child care supply, demand, cost and quality. You are at the forefront of data visualization projects, like Mapping the Gap™, that increase your state’s ability to understand and address child care needs within your community. Being the keeper of data makes you a vital player in elevating the need for and importance of quality NSH care. Leverage your data to form new partnerships and use it to describe the child care landscape in your community.
- Build partnerships in your community. As a CCR&R, you are uniquely positioned to support businesses by identifying areas of mutual interest and opportunities for blending and braiding of resources. Think creatively about the businesses and organizations with which you might partner your community to help identify and target gaps in NSH child care supply.Reach out to the major employers of NSH workers in your area and start a conversation about the importance of quality child care for their employees, for their business and for the local economy.
- Get loud about safe NSH child care. Regulations on the provision of overnight child care and safe sleeping arrangements vary from state to state. You can make sure families know what to look for to ensure they are placing their child in regulated and safe care when they go to work.Spread the word about report and this issue on social media.
- Contact your local, state and national lawmakers. Tell them to make child care for all families, especially families working NSH schedules, a priority by investing in systems (like CCR&Rs!) that support working families and promote provider outreach and retention. When you contact your local and state lawmakers, educate them on the benefits of a well-funded CCR&R network. Share Child Care Resource & Referral: The Secret Solution with them and get the conversation started!
- Celebrate Your Success. Do you or a provider have experience providing child care during nonstandard hours? We want to hear from you! Share your success story and you could be highlighted in an upcoming blog post!
- Attend our Child Care Works Summit. Have you registered for our 2019 Child Care Works Summit? This two-day event (April 3-4) will include one day of preparation and one day of advocacy on Capitol Hill. Together, we can gain support for legislation like the Child Care Development Block Grant and the Child Care for Working Families Act – which both call upon CCR&Rs as a primary mechanism to ensure quality, affordable child care for all families.