The rising cost of child care is not just a family issue. According to a new report from Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS) and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, child care challenges affect Georgia’s overall workforce and economy too.
While research consistently shows the benefits of early childhood education and care, too many families say there is a critical lack of affordable, high-quality child care programs and opportunities in their area. Without access to reliable child care, parents tend to miss work, lowering household incomes and potentially leading to job loss.
In fact, the report finds that a quarter of Georgia parents of children under age 5 reported a significant disruption to their or a family member’s employment in the past year because of challenges with child care. The report also includes additional short- and long-term effects on workforce participation:
- More than 1 in 5 Georgia parents of children under five indicated that they had quit a job, school or work training program due to child care issues
- Roughly 1 in 20 Georgia parents of children under five reported having been fired as a result of missing work due to challenges with child care
- More than 1 in 6 report having turned down a promotion at work because of issues with child care.
Additionally, child care challenges affect more than just families and employers, but the economy overall. The report found that disruption to workforce participation due to child care challenges leads to at least $1.75 billion in losses in economic activity annually and an additional $105 million in lost tax revenue.
By investing in early childhood education benefits children, families, the workforce and the economy. Economic development starts with early childhood development—and the best investments ensure all children, particularly those from low-income families, have access to high-quality early childhood education. Evidence shows that increased access to high-quality early learning and care programs results in short- and long-term benefits to individuals and society. In fact, some programs have demonstrated that every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children from birth through age five generates up to $7.30 in economic returns over the long-term.
While no one program or solution is a silver bullet, businesses have a role to play in increasing investments in early childhood education for Georgia families and beyond.
Read the full report here.