Child care crisis in Ohio impedes workforce, economic growth and early learning

By Zack Frink, Elevate Dayton


Families in Ohio are grappling with the challenge of finding affordable, high-quality child care and preschool options, which in turn affects businesses' ability to recruit workers, children's readiness for kindergarten and the broader economy and community, reports the Dayton Daily News.


The big picture: Parents in Ohio are confronted with a child care dilemma, with expenses reaching as high as 19.8% of a county's median family income.

  • The scarcity of child care openings and restricted accessibility, particularly for evening and weekend care, intensify the issue.


What happened: The COVID-19 pandemic led to the permanent closure of numerous child care providers, and those that remain operational accept fewer children due to personnel shortages.


Driving the news: Groundwork Ohio's recent poll indicates that 52% of parents find it more challenging to afford and access quality child care compared to the previous year.


Why it matters: The child care crisis has substantial implications on the workforce, economy and early education.


  • The labor force participation rate for women is still below pre-pandemic figures, and the crisis costs Ohio $3.9 billion annually in lost income and reduced productivity.


What we’re hearing: A diverse array of advocacy groups, businesses and other organizations are urging for increased state and federal funding to boost child care capacity, enhance preschool accessibility and decrease costs for families while increasing wages for child care and preschool employees.


The bottom line: With more than 62% of Ohio children unprepared for kindergarten, investing in child care and preschool is vital for the future workforce and society as a whole.


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