Studies highlight issues of affordability and remuneration of child care services.

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The economy of child care is not working for parents or providers, a US Treasury Department reported this week.

Parents of children under five often pay more than they can comfortably afford. Child care costs are highest in the five years after the birth of the first child in the family, when family savings are at their lowest.

The remuneration of educators is low and results in high turnover. For-profit child care companies operate on “very slim profit margins,” according to the study, citing a 2011 Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis analysis. full registration to earn money.

A study of North Carolina child care wages by the Child Care Services Association found that the median wage in 2019 was $ 10 an hour for beginning teacher assistants and $ 14.52 an hour for teachers. assistant directors. Workers can earn more by working in fast food or retail, Marsha Basloe and Amy Cubbage wrote in a blog post last month. Basloe is president of the Child Care Services Association and Cubbage is president of the North Carolina Partnership for Children.

The Treasury report comes as the Biden administration seeks to support elements of its economic plan such as the universal preschool and the expansion of the child and dependent care tax credit.

In another poll released in July, more than one in five child care providers in North Carolina who responded said declining registrations in the event of a pandemic put them at risk of shutting down permanently within six. month.

The Zogby Analytics survey for the NC Child Care Resource & Referral Council found that the majority of family care homes and daycares of all sizes have lost money to the pandemic. For-profit and non-profit daycares and NC Pre-K programs were the worst, while the impacts were less severe for church centers and family daycares, according to the report.

“Health and safety of children, families and staff; keep enrollments high enough to break even; maintain staff during and beyond the pandemic; recruitment of staff; and paying staff or paying themselves as a solo provider are the main concerns of providers regarding the sustainability of their programs, ”the report states.

Zogby contacted 4,810 licensed programs with specific email addresses for the online survey, and 1,825 responded to questions.

Fourteen percent of businesses have applied for and received federal economic disaster loans. Fifty-two percent applied for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, and 42% of those who applied received them, according to the survey report.

When the pandemic struck in early 2020, the state Department of Health and Human Services gave bonuses to centers serving the children of first responders. This year, the DHHS offered child care service providers operational grants using federal COVID-19 economic relief money.

The Treasury Department study said many parents do not have convenient childcare options for their workplaces and, citing a Center for American Progress report, said half of Americans live in “child care deserts” with low-income families and those in rural areas. most likely to be underserved.

Families pay for child care themselves or with the help of government grants.

Only a fraction of children nationwide who are eligible for subsidized care obtain it. The United States Government Accountability Office reported this year that 1.9 million children, or 14% who are eligible under federal rules, receive grants from the Federal Child Care and Development Fund, on the 2017 information base.

Finding reliable child care is essential for some parents to get a job. In the Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey from August 18 to 30, more than 300,000 North Carolina residents said they were not working because they were caring for children who were not attending. school or daycare.

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