The lack of available and affordable child care continues to be painful for rural families who are trapped with a single income because the second parent needs to stay home with younger children, reports Megan Leonhardt for Fortune Well. "Nearly one in three rural Americans (31%), including 75% of parents, have personally faced at least one type of child-care challenge, and 11% have had to leave the workforce as a result according to a new survey conducted by the Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), a bipartisan political advocacy group for children, that polled 1,006 respondents living in rural areas or small towns."

The dilemma is a circle of frustration and financial struggle. Breanna Dietrich, a stay-at-home parent from Wheeling, W.Va, pop. 27, 0000, told Leonhardt that she put her now 17-month-old on a daycare waiting list before she was born, and a slot has yet to open: “I’m a mom of five, and my husband works, and he works out of town a lot of times, too. So it’s just me. And I am financially not able to work, which sounds crazy.”

Without child care, "the family has relied solely on the income her husband earns as a utility-pole inspector, but they have struggled with rent, food, and bills—especially amid high inflation and the formula shortage earlier this year," Leonhardt reports. "But many of these parents not only struggle to find available child-care options, they struggle to afford it."

Christy Gleason, the executive director of SCAN, told Leonhardt, “The more we can make affordable child care available to families, then the more they’re able to look at their budget in a different way, because childcare is such a huge cost driver for families across this country, including in rural communities." Dietrich told Leonhardt, "Most people in our area, I will tell you right now, cannot afford $700 or $800 a week [for child care]. That’s more than my husband makes."

Read the full article about rural childcare shortages by Heather Close at The Rural Blog.