Child care is often a big drain on a family budget. The situation is leaving parents and businesses frustrated. On Thursday morning of last week, some Quad City non-profit organizations including the Quad Cities Chamber, Q2030, and United Way of the Quad Cities, brought experts and business leaders together, attempting to come up with ideas to make child care more affordable and available.
They gathered at the Centre Station, Moline. Local 4 News spoke with representatives from the Hand-In-Hand organization and Q2030 about child care issues and their focus for the event.
“We are in a good position right now but know that workforce is going to continue to be an issue. Individuals need child care and we need high quality teachers and employees to provide high-quality child care,” said Angie Kendall, Hand-In-Hand CEO.
“We definitely have providers in the community who has have spots available but they can’t find their own workforce,” Q2030 Executive Director Kate Jennings said,
The pandemic is making it worse, Jennings said. “We know that 60% of non-working parents or family members say that child care is the reason that they are not entering back into the workforce.”
We also interviewed Quad-City parent Hannah Loterbauer, who has been facing child care issues for six-months.
“If you talked to me two months ago, I would’ve been like ‘This is a nightmare. I need a job now,’” Loterbauer said. “I was like scared of staying home or not having that outlet the daycare to provide all that for them, because now it’s on me.”
But staying at home has allowed Loterbauer to work on mental health issues that she’s been battling for years.
“Because I have PTSD and have this medical disability, working kept me from focusing on all of those things. I didn’t know how to slow down, I didn’t know how to be home, because that forced me into my trauma. Working kept me from that because I didn’t have time to really think or work on those things,” she said.
According to Childcare of America and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, in both Iowa and Illinois the average cost for child care has increased significantly. Because of that, Loterbauer and her husband began facing financial issues.
“When I worked as a server, I had to work all the time, open to close, to afford the daycare. It was hard because you want to provide for (your children.) I didn’t know how I was going to make it financially without the job.”
Loterbauer is overcoming these barriers by developing skills in other kinds of work that help stream in income for the family.
“I babysit,” she said. “I sell art work, I train dogs sometimes, I sell stuff stuff I don’t need. Also, I go to a food pantry and so that cuts down on grocery cost. I have figured it out finally. But it took me six months. Now I’m doing this and I’m still learning, but I feel a lot more confident than when I started.”
At the Q2030 Forum last week, the Quad Cities Chamber, Q2030, and United Way of the Quad Cities presented a list of potential solutions for child care.
“So we’re hoping that a follow-up project that we can do along with this business forum is work with the education sector to see how we can try to help them build a pipeline of people into early childhood education careers and support child care workers in other ways, or for businesses to support childcare … things like that.”