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COVID’s already impacting child care. What does this mean for our economy?

 

Right now, there’s a lot on the line when it comes to child care.  

Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, a business owner or simply a taxpayer, you have a stake – financial and moral – in the strength and sustainability of a comprehensive child care system in the Quad Cities.

Hmm. Perhaps you’ve never really thought about it.

Well, let’s start with this premise: Nothing is more important than ensuring the health, safety and nurturing of every infant to school-age child in our region.  

Why?

The early learning that takes place in these formative years has a lifelong impact on a child’s intellectual, physical and emotional development. By extension, it impacts everyone in the community as these kids grow and expand their footprints as teens and adults in our midst.  

And the Quad Cities’ economy simply cannot function without the certainty of quality, affordable child care. 

For families to function and businesses to thrive, parents and employers alike need assurance that despite changing work schedules, school calendars and work environments, no one will be kept out of the workforce or unable to advance in their careers for lack of adequate child care services.

But it’s an especially tough environment right now for providers in the midst of the COVID pandemic. And we should all be focused on helping them succeed. 

A Changed Landscape

In the last couple months, child care providers of all types have been hit with huge, unanticipated costs to meet new health and sanitation standards, comply with lower teacher-child ratios and conform to increased space requirements. Some centers, including home daycares, have been forced to reduce capacity; others have simply closed. 

As record numbers of our friends and neighbors are either unemployed, working from home, or keeping erratic schedules, their child care providers simply do not know from one day to the next how many kids will be coming, how many staff they’ll need or how much revenue they can count on to defray expenses.

But there’s strength in numbers when it comes to demanding our elected officials enact solutions that put our children first. Women United – a dynamic group of volunteers inside United Way Quad Cities – is committed to advocating for working families, as well as helping parents access care and providers deal with the new financial realities of COVID-era service.

If you believe nothing should come in the way of families working hard to provide a life where their children can succeed, Women United welcomes your investment of any amount. $50 will help us provide needed cleaning supplies for a classroom; $1,000 can help create a pop-up site for a safe place for kids to have fun and learn while parents work. Anything in between makes a big difference, as well.

It’s important that we come together to maintain a comprehensive system from infant care to after-school programming so that every Quad Cities kid gets the best start in living their best life. Afterall, the future depends on it — seriously.

did we strike a nerve?

Help United Way kickstart a conversation about the child care crisis. Join Women United Charter Member and special guest speaker Marcy Mendenhall, President & CEO of Skip-A-Long Family and Community Services, for a Virtual Lunch & Learn, Friday, Aug. 21, starting 11:30 a.m., via Zoom. Register Here