The Importance of Child Care In America

daycare in kansas city moThe Importance of high-quality child care cannot be overstated. It’s a major factor that keeps children healthy and safe. Proper childcare will help children develop the social, communicational and emotional skills – together with basic mathematical and pre-literacy skills and concepts – needed to succeed in school and the world beyond. Unfortunately, accessible daycare in Kansas City, Missouri can be tough to find.

Current State of Child Care in America

In the United States, The Kids Count Data Center revealed that about a third of children from birth to age 12 have both parents in the labor force. Because of this, about 15.7 million kids frequently spend time in the care of people that are not their parents. This makes the Importance of child care and the financial implications that accompany it a hurdle for numerous families to cross.

In addition, child care needs often become more intense the moment a child starts school. On average, schools close for about 29 days in a school year. This far exceeds the paid days for a regular American worker—and it does not include summer breaks.

Primarily, women carry the bulk of caregiving within a family and the paid child care industry. Placing value on the critical role caregiving plays in influencing early learning would increase opportunities and choices available to women and their respective families. Consequently, more parents would pursue additional training and education or they’ll join the labor force if child care is available. That’s not all, children would immensely benefit from getting the right child care and the culture shift caused by the new economic opportunities for their families 

According to Brain science, early experiences impact every aspect of a child’s development. Also, children need a safe and enriching child care setting to help develop foundational skills, which sets the stage for success in the future.

Benefits of Childcare

Finding the right child care program for a child and for parents is paramount to the development of any economy. Lack of proper child care affects families, children and every American that has a stake in the workforce and economy. Quality and affordable daycare help parents find a job retain a job for longer. Most importantly, quality child care supports healthy development and learning for a new generation. 

Statistics of Childcare in America

Presently, the American economy loses a shocking $57 billion yearly in wages, revenue, and productivity due to problems arising from child care. This figure doesn’t include the cost to families that forgo educational and job opportunities as they battle the day-to-day stress associated with making timely child care payments; finding the appropriate daycare options in areas with limited options or during periods when they aren’t available, or the child care arrangement completely falls through. 

A troubling fact is that the U.S can afford to invest in child care to meet the needs of families. Measuring the percentage of G.D.P. dedicated to child care, the U.S spends the third-lowest among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations. 

Robust investment in child care would approximately cost the same figure as the present economic loss caused by not focusing on child care. In addition, it would enhance the quality of life for several American families while creating an equitable society where every child could enjoy early learning prospects.

Parents who have access to affordable and reliable child care will actively join the labor force. They’ll also suffer fewer interruptions in their career stemming from limited access to adequate child care facilities.

Options Available To Parents

Currently, most families have just three options to get daycare in Kansas City. The first option is for the parents to stay at home and personally take care of their children. However, this isn’t easy, as most families depend on two incomes to stay afloat. Besides, mothers are more likely to take time off paid work to take care of the child than fathers. This inadvertently worsens the lifetime earning gap of mothers. 

The second option is for the parents to pay for child services in Kansas City from their own pockets. As you would expect, this doesn’t come cheap for most families, as it consumes about 35.9% of the monthly budget of a low-income family. 

The third available option for families is to use state-funded or federal child care. Unfortunately, access to publicly funded child care programs is very limited. On a national level, three out of four children are not registered in a state or federal-funded pre-K program.

The growing phase of a child is a critical development period. When a child has access to high-quality child care from their early years, they often succeed in school and in other areas of life too. The brains of young children develop faster in early childhood when compared to other periods in life. It forms more than a million new neural connections each second. Infants understand their environment and absorb language through interactions with adults they trust. 

There are a number of potential options for child services in Kansas City, Missouri. Understanding the downsides, risks, and limitations of each option—and how these choices negatively impact working mothers and families— emphasizes the need for high-quality child care. So let’s explore the options in detail.

Stay At Home Parents

Some decades back, if you suggested that one parent stay at home and give up paid employment to take care of a child, no one would bat an eye. It even made sense both economically and culturally. This was because families used to live comfortably on one income. Also, women had been consigned to the domestic space traditionally. 

However, in the last 4 decades, due to economic and social advancements, most American families have experienced a massive change. Now, the workforce has to provide care, although it comes with evident risks.

Almost all parents now have to work, irrespective of their children’s age. Workers are parents and vice versa which is out of preference and necessity. An estimated 70.5% of mothers are in the workforce, as well as 64.8% of mothers with a child below six years old. In large part, this is because most families in the present economy depend on two incomes to offset bills. 

Now, daycare in Kansas City may cost as much as one parent’s salary. Hence, a worker’s choice to work part-time or leave the labor force to cover these costs may be a rational decision. Short-term economic burdens are often the reason why many women choose to stay at home and take care of their kids. Although, some mothers may decide to stay home for several other reasons. However, this choice also comes with consequences.

When compared to men, women are more likely to leave work entirely or reduce their work hours to take care of their children. This puts them at an economic disadvantage which soon becomes evident. Leaving the labor force – even for a few months – can have negative long-term costs for the career and lifetime earnings of a woman.

Women often take time off work to take care of their children. This is one of the reasons why the gender wage gap keeps plaguing the country. An estimated 10.5% of the differences in earnings of men and women can be linked to workforce experiences. 

Having access to adequate child care is important to a woman’s ability to contribute meaningfully to the labor force. In the same vein, lack of access to appropriate child care negatively affects the work-family balance of men and women. 

In both the short and long term, it is essential that women can make the best choices for themselves and their families. Having suitable access to affordable daycare options in Kansas City can help eliminate roadblocks that force mothers to make decisions that can negatively affect their children and family.

Personally Paying For Childcare Out Of Pocket

The second option for acquiring daycare in Kansas City is to use some of the family’s disposable income. In the past few years, child care costs have hit the roof, placing a lopsided burden on the budgets of several families. For millions of American families, it has become a nearly impossible task to pay for high-quality private child care.

In half of American States, child care costs exceed average rent payments. This means that several families with young kids struggle to make ends meet. The last year for which data was available for this fact was 2011. The average family with childcare payments with a working mother and children below 5 spent about 10% of their disposable family income on securing child care. 

Although this may not look like a severe burden, it amounts to about a quarter— precisely 22.5% —of the earnings of a married mother. This is more than a quarter of the income of an unmarried woman. 

Kansas City daycare costs are even more stressful for younger mothers. Presently, the average age for a mother to give birth to their first child in the U.S is around 26 years old.

It is not surprising that younger mothers often have lower incomes. Due to their age, there’s every chance that they’ve worked in the labor force for lesser periods. When compared to older mothers, they are likely to still be in school. 

But then again, this means that mothers below 25 years with a growing child paying for child care will spend about one-third i.e. 33%, of their earnings on getting care. Again, the reason is not farfetched; it’s simply because they earn less with no supporting income. 

It is extremely important that these women complete their education and gain the necessary work experience. Unfortunately, Kansas City daycare costs can make this an unrealistic prospect.

In reality, it is harder for women already living below the poverty line. According to statistics from American progress, an estimated 26% of working mothers living below the poverty line pay for child care from their disposable income. These expenses take about half (42.6%) of their earnings. 

It is important women get all the work support they need because seeking paid employment is one of the requirements for some government benefits. Also, employment is a vital pathway to breaking into the middle class. On the other hand, when child care is so expensive that it eats almost all their income, it places a heavy burden on these mothers.

For well-to-do families, paying for daycare in Kansas City may be affordable and simple. However, it’s not an option for most families, especially young and single mothers.

Using Subsidized or Publicly Funded Programs

The last option most mothers have to access child care is to go for subsidized or programs funded by the federal or state government. In truth, this may look like a viable option for families that don’t want to lose one parent’s earnings or for families that cannot afford private care, but the fact is that it is not. Unfortunately, the present reality is that Kansas City child services, along with the rest of the country, have a long way to go regarding publicly funded care programs. 

As it stands, only about 22% of kids from low-income families get subsidized child care from the federal government. This is in the face of increasing preschool enrolment across the country in the past years as children from low-income homes are less likely to join preschool programs. 

The damning stats also show that only 28% of children below four years old are in state-funded preschool programs, while only 4% of children below three years old are enrolled. Lastly, 40% of children aren’t enrolled in any preschool program at all. Evidently, what these stats show is that publicly funded Kansas City child care services that are available are not enough to cater to the needs of children, which is a significant problem

In truth, publicly funded child care programs come in handy for families with low-income and young mothers, but getting access is a huge problem. In a situation where families have access to them, the problem is that the quality is sometimes below the required standard. 

As luck would have it, it is not all doom and gloom for young mothers and families with kids, especially those in Kansas City, Missouri. Now, parents can enjoy the best child services in Kansas City, thanks to Child Care Aware.

About Child Care Aware® of Missouri

Child Care Aware® of Missouri is a non-profit that focuses on improving child services in Kansas City. The goal is to uplift the experiences of children in relation to their environment in their first 2000 days – or five and a half years. 

As we’ve stated earlier, proper child care goes a long way in aiding their development while also greatly benefitting families. This is a gap Child Care Aware fills perfectly and the best part is that it won’t cost your family an arm and a leg. Child Care Aware delivers the best services that center on improving a child’s experiences during their formative years. 

Located in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri, Child Care Aware targets the four core groups that suffer from not getting suitable childcare. These groups are the family unit, child care professionals, businesses and community stakeholders. 

Here are the roles Child Care Aware plays for these groups:

  • Child Care for Families

Child Care Aware enables families to find the right child services through their referral programs. This ensures that Kansas City families have access to the daycare options they require. Also, they provide the required information to families and consumers of childcare through their in-depth and resource-filled website, together with community outreach.

  • Impacting Child Care Programs

The non-profit also partners with other daycare programs across Kansas City by helping them access resources. This way, they get and obtain more knowledge to help them improve their interaction with kids while aiding their development too. That’s not all, these businesses are provided with professional development opportunities to enable them to explore new frontiers. Also, Child Care Aware helps educate child care programs regarding the required business standards they need to enhance the sustainability and quality of their current business practices.

  • Workforce Child Care Services 

Child Care Aware, MO is a leading partner of the Child Care Professional Development System in Missouri. In this regard, they train the child services workforce of Kansas City, and they implement wellness and health practices within the settings of early childhood. In addition, they also manage the T.E.A.C.H. Missouri Scholarship Program, which gives children the education they need to be thoughtful, happy, and healthy individuals. 

Child Care Aware is a full-time advocate of improved professional development systems, and they engage in improving all child service efforts across Kansas City.

  • Collaborative Community Partners

Child Care Aware also engages in important conversations with stakeholders in the community. They also take it a step further by engaging business and legislative leaders within Missouri on the benefits derived from high-quality child care and its Importance to both young children and their families. 

In conclusion, finding daycare services in Kansas City, Missouri shouldn’t be a hassle nor should it burn a hole in the pockets of parents. Thanks to Child Care Aware MO, parents are assured that the needs of their children are well taken care of while they go out to their respective jobs.