Letters to the Editor

Access to quality child care is vital

Imagine that you arrive at your child care provider tomorrow morning and see a sign that says “Closed until further notice.” Would you have to take the week off work? What if all child care providers closed for a day unexpectedly? Think about how this would impact the local economy.

Every local employer from hospitals, coffee shops, hair stylists and schools, to car dealerships, clothing stores, diners and banks would be deeply affected by the loss of workforce. Access to affordable quality child care is vital to workforce retention and productivity.

Investment in affordable, high-quality child care is more than just a nice idea. Working parents are the norm. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Iowa has one of the highest percentages of households (75 percent) with children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force. Access to affordable, high-quality child care strengthens the workforce. In 2016, almost 18,000 parents in Iowa said they quit a job, did not take a job or greatly changed their job because of child care issues. With low unemployment in Iowa we can’t afford to exclude parents from the labor pool. Access to affordable quality child care is vital to workforce development.

In support of the Week of the Young Child (April 16-20) in Linn County I ask local employers and policy makers to include affordable quality child care as an economic development priority.

Chris Kivett-Berry

Cedar Rapids

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