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Lack Of Child Care Options Is Costing North Carolina Billions Of Dollars

Source: EdNC

As federal pandemic funds are set to expire for childcare and early education, a new study highlights the impact a lack of child care access will have on North Carolina’s economy. 

According to a new study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, insufficient child care is costing North Carolina about $5.65 billion each year. 

North Carolina employers lose $4.29 billion a year due to job disruptions and turnover related to child care, and the state loses another $1.36 billion in tax revenue, according to the report

“When we couple the immediate needs of employers with the long-term workforce projections in the state, we simply cannot afford to leave people on the sidelines — and that is where access to affordable, quality child care is so critical,” stated Meredith Archie, president of the NC Chamber Foundation, at a press conference earlier this month. 

Currently, North Carolina ranks 36th in labor force participation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found that the childcare coverage gap and adequate childcare options are barriers to parents’ ability to participate in the labor force. 

“I have personally left the workforce because we could not justify spending a

majority of my salary on childcare,” stated a North Carolina mother of a four-year-old, in the study. “The compromise between financial aspects and quality of childcare made it so that me staying home was the obvious option.”

Ultimately, these barriers lead to a hindrance to the state’s potential for growth and success

“The child care challenge that we have right now is akin to quicksand,” Aaron Merchen, senior director of policy and programs in early childhood education at the U.S. Chamber Foundation, told EdNC. “If you notice you’re in quicksand right away, you can take a low-level intervention and get out of that situation. The longer you wait, the more serious the situation becomes, the harder it gets to get out of that quicksand.”

In the past few months, education advocates have called on the Republican-led legislature to take action on the child care funding cliff.
If Congress or the state legislature fails to renew funding by June 30, almost 3 in 10 child care centers throughout North Carolina will be forced to close.

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