A lack of available after-school child care is forcing many parents to stay at home rather than work or to search for alternative arrangements, according to Yahoo News.
By the numbers: According to an After School Alliance survey, about 24.6 million children couldn’t access an after-school program at the end of 2021. Fifty-four percent of 1,000 after-school program providers surveyed said that they had waitlists.
- Not surprisingly, in the last quarter of 2021, 6% fewer jobs were held by parents of children aged 5-12, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.
Labor shortages: Wells Fargo reported that child care employment levels are down 12.4% from pre-COVID-19 levels. This shortage forced about 460,000 families to find alternative child care.
Incentives abound: “The Afterschool Alliance survey found that 71% of programs had taken action to attract and retain staff. The most common was raising salaries, in some cases using federal pandemic relief money in the form of child care stabilization grants. Some also have offered free child care for employees as well as signing bonuses or paid time off.”
Impacts on women: The lack of available child care has disproportionately impacted women because they are more likely to stay home to care for their children. Experts say that the shortages are limiting many women’s ability to reenter the workforce.