New report highlights parent and provider stories and deepens our understanding of the child care crisis

January 25, 2023

Parents still face rising costs while providers struggle to stay in business 


ARLINGTON, VA, January 25, 2022 – Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) today released The Year in Child Care: 2021 Data, Analysis and Recommendations, the final installment in the organization’s Catalyzing Growth: Using Data to Change Child Care series. This report highlights parent and provider experiences and further illustrates the gap between what families can afford to pay and what providers must charge to scrape by.  

The report is a comprehensive look at the child care system’s recent challenges and opportunities, giving readers a fuller picture of child care affordability by comparing child care prices to median household income by both marital status and race/ethnicity.  

“While the cost of child care remains out of reach for many families in this country, providers are still struggling to stay in business,” shares Michelle McCready, CCAoA’s interim chief executive officer. “As providers prepare to lose COVID-era relief funds, this sector’s need for robust, long-term public support becomes more urgent by the day.”  


CCAoA’s The Year in Child Care report found:  

  • The number of child care slots available falls short of this country’s need; though 12.3 million children had all parents in the workforce, there were only 8.7 million licensed child care slots available, resulting in a potential gap of 3.6 million slots.  
  • Though child care is unaffordable for large swaths of families in the U.S., child care is significantly less affordable for single-parent households and Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Hawaiian/Pacific Islander households.  
  • A vast majority (79%) of child care program directors were concerned about the child care staffing crisis, and still more (81%) reported that federal support would allow them to provide higher wages to their employees.                                                     

The report also includes strategies that child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&Rs) are undertaking to bolster staff recruitment and retention.  

The full The Year in Child Care: 2021 Data, Analysis, and Recommendations report and the rest of the Catalyzing Growth series can be found on the CCAoA website at     

Topics: Press Release

Written by CCAoA