New report sheds light on Tennessee's child care crisis

child care
Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-19 19:57:08-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — These days, finding child care takes patience.

Nashville mom Ashley Giles has an 18-month-old daughter.

"We got on three waiting lists when I was nine months pregnant, and we are still on all said waiting lists to this very day," she said.

As Giles found out, child care also comes at a hefty price.

"So, for us, a part-time with one of the facilities we chose, it does equal more than our mortgage," she said.

According to a new report, 80% of Tennessee's working parents with young children said inadequate child care impacted their jobs. The report also found 50% cited affordability as a problem.

"In center-based care, it is $11,068 for infant care and just over $10,000 for toddlers," said CEO Blair Taylor of Tennesseans for Quality Early Education.

TQEE is the organization behind the report. It found that one-third of Tennessee children under six years old live in families with incomes less than $40,000.

"We wanted to further understand what we heard anecdotally and knew anecdotally about parents having challenges with child care and how that was impacting their workforce productivity," said Taylor.

In all, the report showed Tennessee is losing $2.6 billion annually in revenues and earnings because of the child care crisis.

"It's a conundrum, and it's a really, really difficult business model — and one where parents are bearing the brunt of the costs," Taylor said.

For Giles, finding full-time child care could mean the difference between working from home or returning to work at the office.

"It is tough," she said. "When they say it takes a village to raise a kid, they are not joking."

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