Approximately 60% of rural families are living in a child care desert in this country. What does that mean? The Center for American Progress defines a child care desert as any census tract where more than 50 children under the age of 5 have no access to child care providers, or where there are three times as many children as licensed child care slots.
Think about that. Working parents are struggling to find care for their children – in communities that are also facing labor shortages, which in turn impedes economic growth.
This is the problem we are solving at Business of Child Care. We’re thrilled to announce we’ll be helping families in Moultrie County, Illinois through work we’re doing with the Sullivan Chamber and Economic Development Organization. We’re implementing our WHOLE Community Approach that brings stakeholders together to determine the desired outcome for child care in their community, and develop a plan to make it happen.
In Moultrie County that means working with providers already in market who are key to economic growth for their community, and who bring peace of mind to parents – knowing their kids are well-cared for while parents are at work or school. Our activation plan for Moultrie County centers around providing resources and training for existing child care providers to strengthen their businesses. Retention of current providers is critical in a county that needs more capacity to support a growing economy.
“Child care is a crucial part of workforce development in the area and will always be one of the most important services provided in our community”, said Laurrie Minor, executive director of the Sullivan Chamber and Economic Development Organization. “The continuous availability of quality childcare options is a major key to helping our community grow and thrive.”
We are also working to incentivize existing and new providers to create 100 new child care spaces within 12 months. Business of Child Care will provide business services and guidance through the start-up process. This plan is based on our work with stakeholders: schools, employers, local government, parents, and providers. It includes a focus on the micro-needs of working parents, including early childhood special needs care, shift care, varied start times, and wrap-around care for children with school schedules that don’t align with parents’ work schedules.
Historically, child care has been something left for families to figure out. The reality is, the lack of quality child care has a negative impact on economic growth nationwide. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation study in found in 2020, 58% of working parents reported leaving work because they were unable to find adequate care for their children. That adds to an already tight labor supply, which makes it even harder for businesses to grow.
Business of Child Care recognizes one size does not fit all when it comes to a community’s child care needs. From providing one-on-one guidance for individual providers, to our EarlyEd FlexPlex model that supports multiple businesses in one central space, Business of Child Care is committed to working with communities to create the outcomes they desire for the well-being of children and economic development.