New Survey from National Parents Group Reveals Deepening Child Care Crisis As Costs Climb and Centers Face Closure

Data Reveals Extent of Crisis as President Biden Makes Emergency  Funding Request to Congress

November 7, 2023 – According to a new ParentsTogether Action survey, the lack of access to quality, affordable child care is an issue for parents all over the country, and it continues to deepen following the September 30 expiration of federal stabilization funds that helped child care centers stay afloat.

ParentsTogether Action conducted a survey from October 17 to 31 of more than 200 parents in their membership with children under 5. 72% said they have struggled to find reliable child care, either because of availability, affordability, or quality. 61% 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. 

A recent 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. More than a month after the expiration of federal stabilization funds, Congress has failed to find a way to alleviate the crisis. Last week, the Biden administration announced a request of $16 billion in emergency funding from Congress to rescue the child care sector. In September, members of Congress introduced the Child Care Stabilization Act, which would ensure that child care providers can keep their doors open and continue serving children and families in every part of the country.

According to the survey:

  • 25% of respondents said they recently saw an increase in child care tuition
  • 16% said that staff hours at their provider had recently been cut
  • 8% said they’ve recently experienced a closure of their child care center and 6% said they’ve received word that their provider was at risk of needing to close their doors in the future 

The survey also found that:

  • Right now, paying for child care takes a huge financial toll on families. 61% 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. Many respondents found that paying for child care meant cutting back on other household expenses including kids activities/enrichment (55%), food (38%), college savings (37%), or education and tutoring (14%). 
  • Difficulty finding quality, affordable child care significantly impacts parents’ ability to work, and work well. 47% of respondents said it makes it harder to focus, 37% said it makes it harder to get their work done, 29% said they have had to switch to a less demanding job, and 15% 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. 90% 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.

“What’s clear from the data is that families across the country face a significant burden in accessing affordable, quality child care – and this crisis has only gotten worse since September as parents across the country face tuition increases and provider closures. 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. “We’ve seen the crisis worsen in the month since federal funds expired. To relieve millions more American families from the child care cliff, Congress must step in and immediately pass the  $16 billion in child care rescue funding requested by President Biden last week. Failure to take action will put millions of families in an impossible position. America’s children deserve better.”