Tess Williams ‘24, Vanussa Barbosa ‘23, Megan Lorenz ‘23, and Margaret Panasci ‘24
Childcare is a nationwide issue that has continued to plague parents despite protests and efforts to require adequate help. This has caused both family and business problems. Work-life balance is at the forefront of priorities among most American families, especially after the effects of COVID-19 and new opportunities to work from home. While a family may seemingly benefit from the ability to work while remaining in the house with children, research on heterosexual families has shown that women experience disproportionately burdened effects in terms of being expected to help more in both work and familial spheres. The Chamber Foundation started research in response to the public health emergency to determine how the pandemic has impacted families, the childcare industry, and employers. The capacity of working parents to remain employed was the main focus of this. One of the most notable results was how the pandemic has disproportionately affected women. It was discovered in the study that “women are more likely to have declined a new job opportunity than men (13% vs. 7%) and more likely to have left the workforce (9% vs 2%)” (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 10). Women were more likely to quit working because they couldn’t afford daycare. None of the men who left said they did so due to childcare issues; instead, they identified health and safety concerns. This recent research is evidence of the childcare crisis, but there is a history of evidence that lack of childcare creates structural barriers for all walks of life. According to the College of American Pathologists (CAP) survey, childcare access has a stronger impact on income and employment for women of color as well. The cost of childcare disproportionately affects families with lower incomes, in addition to parents who are trying to receive a higher level of education. Families are burdened with choosing between their career/education or childcare.
To better understand how a shortage of childcare impacts working parents, the capacity to hire qualified workers and state economies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation surveyed working parents in four states in the fall of 2019. The studies found that “In the four states studied, these childcare issues resulted in anywhere from $479 million to $3.47 billion in estimated annual losses for their economies” (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 4). Employers in those states suffered and numbers increased of employee turnover rates, hiring, and transition. According to the research, parents are delaying their education and training because of childcare issues. In addition, many lose promotions and are forced to abandon their professions since child care is difficult to find and expensive.
We believe that Holy Cross can combat this issue within our community by providing on-campus childcare to all faculty, staff, administration, and students. Faculty has been trying to achieve this task since the early 2000s and the demand is only growing with the rise in the cost of childcare and never-ending waitlists. Our school prides itself on creating a well-rounded experience with many services to benefit the students and faculty, such as counseling services, athletic and fitness spaces, labs, and more. If Holy Cross looked at childcare as another service they should offer they would see a higher level of satisfaction and enjoyment from all members of our community. This would not only help those who are desperately in need of childcare but also act as an attraction to the school for new faculty and students and most likely lead to higher retention rates.
Child care is essential to working parents because this service gives parents the flexibility to be able to work and make money, develop their careers, and contribute to their success in advancing in their life. With access to reliable and affordable child care, parents can keep their jobs and give their children a safe, trusting, stable, nurturing, and nearby facility to stay in while they work. With reliable child care, parents would be more comfortable leaving their children while they are at work, and it gives them a chance to network with other working parents and members of the community while also assuring that their kids are in a safe environment. With the reopening of this conversation to the Holy Cross community, we hope to convey an important message to many about why having a childcare facility is an impactful and important factor in the lives of many Holy Cross faculty and staff. Having access to affordable and high-quality child care poses a significant barrier for many. This conversation may pave the way for future transformation and introduce new opportunities for a childcare center.
Piecing together solutions: The importance of childcare to U.S … (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2022, from
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