A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the Rodel educational foundation, the State Department of Education, and the Delaware State Chamber is a must-read for employers.
The most striking finding – Delaware’s child care providers are licensed to serve only 35,000 children, even though the population of those under five totals 54,000.
Philly Federal Reserve President and former University of Delaware President Patrick Harker touched on the report earlier this month in a virtual “Zoom” meeting sponsored by the State Chamber.
Access to child care has been a long-running problem in Delaware and the nation as a whole.
The Covid-19 pandemic led to severe disruptions that put some childcare providers out of business. The labor shortage took an additional toll as some caregivers moved on to more lucrative lines of work.
Meanwhile, women are not returning to the workforce in the numbers we saw before the pandemic.
According to the report, federal and state governments, private businesses, local agencies and schools, the nonprofit community, and families, all need to be involved in developing solutions.
Solutions could include wage subsidies and higher compensation for child care professionals, tax credits for businesses of all sizes, and employer-provided vouchers or subsidies for working parents.
The Philadelphia Fed and Harker deserve credit for putting needed resources to work in the report. It was also good to see that Rodel, the State Chamber, and The Education Department came on board.
One immediately helpful tool is an online interactive map that identifies licensed child care facilities across the state of Delaware. The map opens up opportunities for employers to provide workers with higher-quality child care options.
One hopes the state still has pandemic resources available to deal with a pressing issue.
Unfortunately, we have not seen the same urgency that came with the recently signed $300 rebate immediately signed by the governor. A portion of that $185 million could have been used for child care tax assistance credits for smaller businesses and for individuals.
Your thoughts on the childcare issue are most welcome. Simply hit reply. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.