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American childcare crisis fueled by a labor shortage at day care centers

Jessica Dackett’s Teddy Bear Day Care and Preschool is directly aware of the impact of the country’s employment crisis. Dackett, in Fairfax, Virginia, said he was short of six employees and had only 60 out of 109 children. This is because she has no staff to take care of them.

Mr. Dackett said that applicants may not bother to appear. Others are seeking wages that they are not qualified or she cannot afford if they want to keep their parents’ costs down. She offers wages ranging from $ 13 to $ 14 on average, free childcare for staff, and benefits in her two locations.

“There isn’t really a hiring situation,” Dackett said. “We are actually interviewing an unqualified person. People apply but do not appear in the interview. People agree to take on the job and come to the interview, but do not do a background check. Hmm.”

The shortage of childcare workers has a significant spillover effect on the economy as a whole, keeping parents away from work and exacerbating the broader shortages felt in almost every industry. Affordability is another issue for many parents, and some industry supporters are looking at President Joe Biden’s economic plans to provide government funding for preschool and day care as a potential boost. ..

A recent survey of more than 7,500 respondents from daycare centers and homes across the country found that almost all states have a shortage of workers, some as high as 90%. According to a national survey by the National Early Childhood Education Association (NAEYC) in August, many said that as a result, fewer children were cared for.

“If you register more children and raise wages to pay more staff, [for some] People aren’t enough yet, people don’t apply yet, people still go out. And I have a child who doesn’t have a caregiver, which puts the family in a bad position. It’s like a double-edged sword. “

The employment report released on Friday showed a mixed picture that the unemployment rate plummeted from 4.6% to 4.2%, but the number of non-farm payrolls increased by only 210,000 in November.

Wages are a big issue, according to NAEYC data. Eighty percent of workers in a particular state cite wages as a reason for leaving the childcare industry. Some people leave the field looking for opportunities at large companies like Amazon and Starbucks.

According to Cindy Lehnhoff, director of the National Child Care Association, others have chosen to move to the school system, acting as teacher assistants and going beyond that as labor crises are also felt there. ..

“It’s a really tough job. It’s very tough. Spend 8 hours a day with 10 3-year-olds and think about what kind of physicality you need. Then just catch up with your actions and emotions. There’s a spiritual part. Last year it was very difficult because of the stress in most homes. “

And even beyond the struggle of workers, childcare is exorbitantly expensive for many parents across the country.

According to Lehnhoff, the average ratio at licensed centers is 1 in 4 caregivers for infants and 1 in 10 when they arrive in kindergarten. Family members can seek more than 50 hours of care per week. That is, one full-time worker cannot cover the classroom for such a long day.

Separate staff is needed to cover the extra time. That, coupled with the renting of facilities, the food and supplies for the center to operate are expensive. The incentives will help cover the cost of the center by 2024, but more will be needed to reduce family costs and attract enough workers.

President Biden’s Buildback Better Agenda has a large allocation of funding, Renhoff said, which would be a big win if the plan were realized. $ 400 billion for childcare, including funding licensed facilities and reducing family costs, and an investment in Universal Pre. -K.

“It will give the middle class some support. Many of our middle class parents are forced into unlicensed childcare and typical babysitter situations, so regulation is also educated. No, “Renhoff said.

The industry is waiting for the administration’s financial plans to come true, but since last year it’s the mental health of staff who have been staying up late since last year when centers across the country are thin, Dackett said. rice field.

“In March 2022, we’ve been doing this for two years, and it’s been a long time to be like under some sort of coercion, and you breathe. I’m looking for that moment, and I don’t know if we’re doing that for a long time. “

American childcare crisis fueled by a labor shortage at day care centers

Source link American childcare crisis fueled by a labor shortage at day care centers

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