New Report: $2.4 Billion: The Annual Cost of PA's Child Care Crisis for Working Mothers

Moms F1rst - The Employee Benefits that Pays for Itself

New Report: Employing and Engaging Families with Young Children, 2024

Impact on ECE Workforce

The Child Care Workforce

Once child care programs have the resources they need to thrive, children, families, businesses, and our nation’s economy also will thrive. On the other hand, as long as child care programs continue to struggle, children, families, businesses and the economy will continue to struggle.

The child care industry has long struggled with finding, hiring, and retaining teachers and staff, largely due to low wages and benefits. And yet, strong child outcomes are attributed to early childhood teacher’s credentials and nurturing relationships dependent upon consistency in caregivers. In Pennsylvania, degreed teachers are an integral component of the state’s Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) system, Keystone STARS.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated challenges to the early childhood workforce resulting in an unprecedented childcare crisis. In September of 2021, a statewide survey conducted by partners of the Start Strong PA Campaign found that 92% of early childhood providers were experiencing staffing shortages and, as a result, 51% of respondents closed at least one classroom.

While federal and state relief funds during the pandemic have helped to stabilize child care programs in the short term, this relief has not resolved the systemic challenges that have “plagued the child care market — for parents and providers — and severe challenges remain,” according to a 2022 report from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Historically, professions held largely by Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the United States have been pervasively undervalued and underpaid. This is especially true for the early care and education workforce, primarily women and 40% of whom are women of color.

Early educators are among the lowest paid in every state, which disproportionately impacts Black and Brown women. Nearly half of early educators earn poverty-level wages, depend on public assistance, and only 15% receive employer-sponsored health insurance.

To combat an inequitable system, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation indicates that state and local chambers of commerce and industry have key roles in helping provide small business resources to child care providers. Chambers can also help convene community leaders who are interested in better supporting working families with young children.


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Why Does Child Care Cost So Much Yet Providers Make So Little?

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at UC Berkeley and Child Care Aware® of America teamed up to create a new video that explains why parents cannot afford to pay and educators cannot afford to stay and proposes a solution for a better way to support children, their families, and early educators.


Impact Report: Start Strong PA