The Annie E. Casey 2023 Kids Count Data Profile spotlights areas of child and family well-being that are improving and areas where more work needs to be done.
The latest report showcases how a dearth of affordable child care leaves parents and caregivers few options and mounting challenges. According to the data, caregivers chart their career paths around the patchwork of available and affordable care — for better or for worse. This often means parents and caregivers are forced to reduce hours and wages and are reluctant to accept additional career responsibilities through promotions. Many folks are standing in the gap trying to support local solutions, yet in the absence of scalable models and sustained public investment, the reliability of child care remains unstable. As a result, our economy is built on a rocky foundation. According to the report, North Carolina was one of three states in which 16 percent of children under six-years-old live in families where someone quit, changed, or refused a job because of problems with child care during 2020-2021. That’s higher than the national average of 13 percent.
There is hope if we put our hearts and minds together towards action. We all have a role to play in developing our country’s future workforce. Here are some ways you can get involved:
- The NC Early Childhood Foundation co-convenes organizations across the state to identify new strategies for all families to access the child care they want for their children. The newly formed Care and Learning Coalition (CANDL) has started its work by hearing from parents and caregivers about child care. CANDL recently released the findings of a listening tour in 34 NC counties. The findings underscore how the availability of care that is affordable and trusted is considered the ideal choice. Sign up for the CANDL newsletter to keep on top of this work.
- Employers can play an important role in supporting parents of young children to meet their work and family responsibilities. Providing a family-friendly workplace, which includes access to benefits such as paid parental leave and child care stipends, can improve the health and well-being of employees and their children and deliver a strategic advantage to employers to recruit and retain workers. With 28,690 new jobs announced in NC in 2022, combined with the dearth of child care, current and upcoming businesses have the opportunity to contribute to news models and strategies. Find out more about becoming a Family Forward NC Certified Employer.