Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Urban Institute interviewed and surveyed more than 400 local workforce development boards about their child care support systems and found that many were taking a strategic approach to helping parents.
• Can philanthropists help advance workforce development programs by strengthening capacity so child care support can be part of the business model?
Almost three out of five low-income parents only have a high school degree or less. But many parents who want to improve their job skills can’t enroll in education and training because they can’t find or afford child care. Local workforce development systems, which help people access training and jobs, can help parents address their child care needs.
We recently surveyed 457 local workforce development boards about their supports for parents. Of the 155 boards who responded, many were taking a strategic approach to serving parents, whether by collecting data on families or by developing partnerships to meet families’ needs. We then chose five geographically diverse sites among those whose survey responses suggested they were active in supporting child care and interviewed the local board administrators about their child care strategies.
The following summarizes insights from the survey and interviews:
- Interview respondents said that child care allows parents to participate in education and training, helps parents be better workers, and supports a well-functioning economy.
- Respondents in several of the interview sites also said that the quality of child care matters to helping children get a strong start in life. Child care helps build the future workforce.
- About 64 percent of survey respondents said they provided supportive services for child care.
- Among our five select sites, we find that some states build coordination and collaboration into their required approach for local workforce boards at the state level, and other local boards take ownership of this issue themselves.
- The most commonly identified challenge in meeting the child care needs of parent clients was inadequate funding for child care and workforce development support services.
Read the full article about child care support services by Gina Adams and Shayne Spaulding at Urban Institute
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