Wisconsin Families Demand Affordable Child Care onNational Advocacy Day

Wisconsin families participate in A Day Without Child Care on May 13, 2024, to demand equitable, affordable, and accessible child care. The national advocacy day highlights the crisis of unaffordable options, long waitlists, and low provider wages affecting workforce participation and children's development.

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Wisconsin Families Demand Affordable Child Care onNational Advocacy Day

Wisconsin Families Demand Affordable Child Care onNational Advocacy Day

On May 13, 2024, Wisconsin families are participating in A Day Without Child Care, a national advocacy day, to demand equitable, affordable, and accessible child care. The event, organized by Childcare Changemakers, aims to highlight the crisis of unaffordable options, long waitlists, and low provider wages affecting workforce participation, career moves, and children's development across the state.

Why this matters: The lack of affordable child care has far-reaching implications for the economy, as it affects workforce participation and career advancement opportunities. Moreover, it can have a lasting impact on children's development, making it essential to address this issue to ensure a strong future workforce and society.

Wisconsin faces significant challenges in child care accessibility and affordability. Long waitlists and child care deserts in some areas make it difficult for families to find care. Infant care costs can exceed college tuition, while child care providers earn wages substantially lower than many other occupations. At Joyful Beginnings Academy, 75% of parents said child care allows them to keep working; without it, either they or their partner would need to leave their jobs.

Personal stories from Wisconsin parents underscore the impact of the child care crisis. Matthew Askins, a Green Bay dad, had to quit his job to care for his children when their child care center closed due to lack of state funding. Bea Johnson, an Oshkosh mom, prepared to halt her career as a high school teacher when suddenly left without child care. Elizabeth McKinney, a Green Bay mom, started working at home full-time to bypass high costs, leading her to turn down a promotion.

Beyond workforce participation, child care plays a crucial role in early childhood development. Mackenzie Guenther, a Joyful Beginnings parent, creditschild carewith helping her young child's vocabulary"blossom like crazy"and form friendships. Tori Miniat's daughter, who was not talking at 2 years old, began forming full sentences after just two weeks at child care.

As part of A Day Without Child Care, Wisconsin has the most action items scheduled of any other state, including providers closing, social media campaigns, and parents writing letters to lawmakers. The national movement features town hall meetings, roundtable discussions with lawmakers, rallies, and other innovative strategies to demand funding for a 21st-century child care system. Introduced in 2022, the event was held in 24 states and Washington, D.C. last year, with organizers expecting it to gain momentum in 2024.

The lack of affordable child care continues to impact Wisconsin families, affecting workforce participation, career moves, and children's development. As Cassie Calbaum, a parent, notes, child care availability allows her family to continue being a dual-income household and expand their family. A Day Without Child Care serves as a powerful platform for families to advocate for the equitable, accessible child care system they need to thrive.