Due to rising costs and state investments that don’t keep pace, the child care industry is in peril, and nearly half of local providers are turning families away. Families who rely on the Purchase of Care (POC) subsidy can’t find care because their voucher only reimburses about 50 percent of the costs of child care. Subsequently, about 30 percent fewer families are benefiting from the program now than in previous years–at a time when families critically need child care to be able to engage in the workforce during a global pandemic.
Families are finding more and more that this crisis is untenable. Here are just a few examples Delaware families shared with advocates in their own words:
My child started child care this fall (age one). The staff are working so hard but they don’t have enough people. Hours have been cut. We’ve had days when his room is just closed. These teachers are incredible and we need to support them more, financially, through benefits, reduced education fees, and we should ask them what they need. My child has learned so much in just three months of care, imagine what he will do when he gets to kindergarten!Middletown Mom
As a mom of three with a set of twins currently in pre-K, even with the discount, I pay $1,360 for both of them/month. That’s more than my current mortgage. There is financial struggle at home, but we [endure it] because we want our children to to be ready for kindergarten. I understand why women sacrifice their careers and professional development and stay home with their children. Something needs to change. Something has to be done to make child care more affordable for all families despite their income.Wilmington Mom
As someone who is expecting their first child, I’m worried about how I can continue working and care for my child. Child care and smart policies like paid leave will make it easier to stay in my job.Wilmington Mom
I went back to work when my child was eight and a half weeks old. I am a teacher and was unable to work from home. Many daycares do not take children younger than one year old, so we had no choice but to send him to an in-home caregiver, which was astronomically expensive. With my husband just starting out in his career and me having a teacher’s salary, it was nearly impossible to afford and we went into debt. When our daughter was born a few years later, our son was not yet school-aged. Since we could not afford the cost of daycare for two children, I had no choice but to quit my job and stay home with them until my daughter was able to enter daycare at one year old. This set back my career and put my son behind other children his age, since he no longer had a school environment in which to develop socially and academically.Newark Mom
I am a father, grandfather, and great grandfather. Along with financial support for the health of Delaware residents, I urge you to take action to support early childhood education in our state. The lack of meaningful investment in pre-K and child care is shocking. The state’s long history of underfunding pre-K and child care has resulted in a lack of quality and affordable care.Lewes Grandfather
My youngest child was on a waiting list with no other available openings. It was so hard for both of us. We made it, but I want the next generation of mothers and kids supported. Early learning should be available and affordable!Wilmington Mom
The state must invest more in Purchase of Care to ensure families can find the care they need. While budgets are being decided, families lose out. Tell the members of the Joint Finance Committee that you support increased funding in Purchase of Care.
Related Topics: child care crisis, Delaware education, early childhood education, early learning, first state pre-k