FAMILY

Reliable childcare hard to find for estimated half a million families

Mar 14, 2022, 9:36 AM | Updated: 12:11 pm
Chris Conard picks up his daughter Hazel Conard from kindergarten at Whittier Elementary School in ...
Chris Conard picks up his daughter Hazel Conard from kindergarten at Whittier Elementary School in Salt Lake City before dropping her off at Makiko’s Daycare Center in Murray on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Reliable childcare is hard to come by for Utahns, according to data from a recent report. And local experts say more than half of Utah families have both parents working outside the home. 

“54% of children under age six live in families with a need,” said childcare policy advocate Erin Jemison. “If we want our economy to keep running, if we want businesses to be able to find employees — which is arguably their number one concern right now in this tight labor market — those employees often need childcare.”

And when those employees don’t have reliable childcare, fewer people can enter the workforce. And that’s when we’re already seeing the impacts of the Great Resignation.

State lawmakers resurrected and passed a bill that lets in-home care providers care for more children at once. Until this bill passed, childcare providers in your home could only care for four children at once. Now they can care for up to six.

Lawmakers also gave money to centers that contract with employers, but advocates call this a blip in the state’s overall need.

The daycare industry is also struggling more so than others for workers. The Wells Fargo study shows *employment* in the daycare industry is 12 percent below pre-pandemic levels. The report shows a lot of Day-Care workers left over low pay, and early pandemic shutdowns.

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Reliable childcare hard to find for estimated half a million families