With Child Care Cliff Looming, New Survey Reveals Child Care Crisis as Parents are Forced to Cut Back on Hours or Resign

August 16, 2023 – According to a new survey from ParentsTogether Action, a nonprofit parent and family advocacy group that represents more than 3 million families, the lack of access to quality child care is reaching a breaking point.  Families already face vast challenges in accessing child care, and the crisis will soon get even worse: a “child care cliff” is looming as billions in federal stabilization funds for child care providers are set to run out in September.

ParentsTogether Action conducted a survey of more than 200 parents in their membership with children under 5 who may be impacted by the child care cuts. 59% of respondents said that either they or a member of their household has had to cut back on hours or leave a job because they couldn’t find reliable child care within their budget. 74% said they have struggled to find reliable child care, either because of availability, affordability, or quality.

As the federal funds that helped child care programs stay afloat expire, there is no plan in place to alleviate the problems this will cause for parents and providers around the country. A new report found that this drop off in federal child care investment will mean that three million children lose access to child care as up to 70,000 child care programs are forced to close their doors, with families in every state feeling the impact. 

According to the survey:

  • Paying for child care takes a huge financial toll on families. 59% of families say someone in their household has had to cut back on hours or leave a job because they couldn’t find reliable child care within their budget. When families can find child care, paying for it has meant that they can no longer afford other household necessities, with 44% of parents saying they have to cut back on food costs, 37% needing to cut utilities, and 27% cutting back on their rent/mortgage payments. In addition, as a result of child care costs, parents report having to cut back on their savings (55%), their kids activities/enrichment (52%),  leisure activities like vacations and restaurants (53%), and education/tutoring (11%).
  • Challenges finding quality, affordable child care seriously  impacts parents’ ability to work, and work well. 47% of respondents said it makes it harder to focus, 34% said it makes it harder to get their work done, 28% said they have had to switch to a less demanding job, and 21% said they have gotten negative feedback from coworkers and/or supervisors.
  • There is widespread support from parents for elected officials finding and prioritizing sustainable solutions to solve this crisis. 87% of those surveyed said they support Congress taking action to help ensure families with young children can find and afford quality child care for their kids.

“Families across the country already face an incredible burden in accessing  affordable, quality child care, and this crisis will only get worse come September. Parents are having to make impossible decisions on whether to cut back on hours or resign from work, not pay bills, or use savings in order to cover the astronomical  cost of child care, if they can even find it at all,” said Ailen Arreaza, Executive Director of ParentsTogether. “As federal stabilization funds expire, it’s time for Congress to step in and relieve American families by passing a child care rescue package that will allow both parents and their kids to thrive.”