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Childcare Shortage

Childcare, or the lack of it, has created serious issues for both employers and employees in the commonwealth.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the average hourly rate for childcare workers is just 13.14 an hour, less than the hourly living wage – or the hourly rate that an individual in a household must earn to support his or herself and their family – for 1 adult in the commonwealth.

This coupled with a lack of benefits makes it hard for childcare providers to retain or attract workers.

“They’re not babysitters, They are childcare providers and they are teachers in their own right Potty training, teaching them language, teaching them cooperation, playing with other children, dealing with behavioral issues, trying to do the best they can to help parents They not only care for your child, they’re nurturing your child, they’re teaching your child. It’s a whole lot of jobs wrapped into that one.”

Sterightiff is a region 6 director of the Early Learning Resource Center, a state-run program that helps individuals gain information and access services that support children and their families in Pennsylvania. They recently held a thank you dinner for childcare workers to show their appreciation but Streightiff also told us about the challenges they face every day.

“Providers have had to close their doors because they just can’t find the staff anymore and I hate to say it but it’s not worth it, The love of the children is worth it but that doesn’t put food on their table.”

Providers have to meet a child to staff ratio they have to meet, if they don’t have enough then they cannot take on extra children. This puts an extra strain on families trying to obtain childcare. According to the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission Pennsylvania employers are expected to lose $1.52 billion annually due to childcare challenges faced by their workforce.

“It’s been a rough couple years for daycare and between the pandemic and then finding staff, it’s difficult,”

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