Families need child care resources now more than ever - Generocity Philly

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Oct. 19, 2020 8:00 am

Families need child care resources now more than ever

According to the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls’ most recent Blueprint Report, on average in Pennsylvania, 40% of a single mom’s annual income goes to child care.

Families need to earn about $93,000 annually just to meet their basic needs in Chester County.

(Photo by Trust "Tru" Katsande on Unsplash)

This guest column was co-written by Josh Maxwell, vice chair of the Chester County Board of Commissioners, and Michelle  Legaspi Sanchez, executive director of the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls.
Families in Chester County are working harder than ever.

COVID-19 has not only proven to be a public  health crisis, but it has exposed the existing crisis for quality and affordable child care as well. Parents  have adjusted to functioning as fulltime employees, providing for the daily needs of their children, and  helping with virtual school at home.

Chester County is the most expensive county in which to live and work throughout the Philadelphia region.

The responsibilities and anxieties of parents have multiplied, leaving  most feeling overwhelmed and struggling to find support. Working families urgently need access to safe  child care resources.

Government, nonprofits, and local businesses have a responsibility to work in tandem, thinking outside  the box, to find solutions for the child care crisis. According to the 2020 Overlooked and Undercounted  Report from PathWays PA, Chester County is the most expensive county in which to live and work throughout the  Philadelphia region. Families need to earn about $93,000 annually just to meet their basic needs.

“We  find that Pennsylvania families struggling to make ends meet are neither a small nor a marginal group,  but rather represent a substantial proportion of the state,” the report finds.

By far, the largest expense  for families is child care, which costs more than housing if both parents work fulltime and if more than  one child is in day care. In Chester County, families with two children in day care will pay $2,649 a month, while the average housing cost is $1,285 for that same family.

In Chester County, families with two children in day care will pay $2,649 a month.

COVID-19 has particularly exposed the disparities in resources for working moms. It is critical for  government and nonprofits to provide child care funding to help working moms who are struggling to  balance their time between working to pay for their mortgage, taking care of their kids, and paying for  their child care.

According to the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls’ most recent Blueprint Report, on average in Pennsylvania, 40% of a single mom’s annual income goes to child care. Elected  officials, nonprofits, and community partners need to ensure that this fact remains at the center of  their discussions for how to help those experiencing child care issues.

From our Partners

In response to the urgent need for quality, affordable and safe child care, Chester County government  has made available $10 million in child care assistance for families who are forced to decide between  work and taking care of their children. An additional $5 million in grants will fund the child care  organizations that need to implement specific measures to keep children safe while in their care.

These  two grant programs are part of a total $28 million Chester County government initiative that is also  supporting our public schools and nonprofits, two mainstays also severely impacted by COVID-19.

Nonprofits, philanthropy, government and local businesses can and must work together to identify and  provide resources that make child care more affordable for working families. Supporting these families  will help rebuild our economy and create equity in the workplace.

Now is the time to double down on  our efforts by addressing the urgent need for child care resources.

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