Even before the COVID-19 crisis, child care, so vital to a functioning workforce and our economy, was fraught with challenges in Illinois.
Limited availability of affordable care meant that too many working parents were missing shifts, forgoing job moves and watching their earnings diminish. The effects extended to parents’ employers and their productivity. Annually, these and similar difficulties sap Illinois’ economy of almost $2.5 billion, according to a new report from the ReadyNation network of business executives, and those costs related only to care for young children, up to age 3.
Now the coronavirus pandemic has aggravated such challenges and threatened our local economy in far more sweeping ways. Among them, child care programs have had to close entirely with exception to those applying to reopen and serve the families of essential workers.
We write to emphasize two things: First, workers on the front lines of helping us all through the COVID crisis can seek child care by calling 888-228-1146 or checking https://emergencycare.inccrra.org.
Secondly, over time, we hope state leaders can return to the progress they’ve begun to notch in strengthening our child care system and ensuring that help is there for more of the kids, working parents, and employers who need it. That’s a positive approach for helping to reinforce our economy, and reason for hope even in these toughest of times.