WisDems: ICYMI: Wisconsin Republicans’ child care inaction is “A slap in the face” to providers and families

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MADISON, Wis. — After Wisconsin Republicans rejected Governor Evers’ special session to address our state’s workforce challenges, headlines continue to pile up warning of Wisconsin’s child care crisis and the devastating effects inaction will have on working families across the state.

new report released this week detailed the soaring cost of child care in Wisconsin, with the average family spending up to 36% of their annual income on child care costs, with higher costs on the horizon. Without continued funding through Child Care Counts, providers across Wisconsin will be forced to choose between raising their rates or closing their doors, ensuring quality child care remains inaccessible for working families.

Read more about how Republicans’ inaction will have serious consequences for working Wisconsin families:

Wisconsin Examiner: “The lawmakers’ rejection was ‘a slap in the face, really,’ said Angela Norvald of Hudson. ‘They’re not listening.’ Norvald said she sees workers in the community commuting across the Mississippi River to work in Minnesota, where she said pay is better and child care resources are more robust. ‘I’m worried about the future of Wisconsin.’”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Theresa Fredericks, who owns a center in Ashland, said the end of Child Care Counts will lead to a 15% tuition rate increase for her parents. She has over 70 children on a waitlist in a ‘child care desert’ in rural Wisconsin.” 

Channel 3000: “Amid a child care shortage in Wisconsin, rural providers, who can often be few and far between, paint a dire picture of existing child care deserts. […] Lewig said that some of the sparsity issues that rural Wisconsin parents face when looking for child care can be a significant impact. ‘The average distance that people in rural communities drive is at least 10 to 20 miles to find access to care, let alone to quality care,’ he said.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nicole Grube and Heidi Brill Opinion: “Hope has turned to fear and struggle to keep the doors open. Since Child Care Counts funding was cut in half in May, tuition has increased 10% and staff bonuses have been reduced, causing some families and staff to leave already. Like many other centers, Child Care Counts dollars made up nearly 25% of our budget. When the program ends completely in January there will be some very difficult decisions to make. Many parents can’t afford this kind of price increase which will make access to quality care even less equitable. Staff can’t endure further cuts to their already low pay.”

The Cap Times: “Ebben agrees. If the funding lapses, she said the lack of providers in her rural corner of northeast Wisconsin — dubbed a child care desert — will only get worse. ‘There are several people planning to close by February when it (Child Care Counts is done) because they just can’t afford to stay open,’ she said. ‘Which is going to make the child care desert even worse. It is going to be horrible. I can’t even imagine what it is going to be like.’”

WXPR: “WI Families Could See ‘Double Whammy’ From Budget Policies […] ‘Every step of the way, obviously, kids and families need support,’ Wolfe pointed out. ‘But if we don’t do it early, then we pay for it later.’”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rilla Williams Opinion: “Providers in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin are finding it difficult to meet the demand for quality child care because many teachers have left the field. Former teachers report that although they love working with children, they cannot continue to work for the average starting wage of $12 to $15 per hour and no benefits. This is especially true after the pandemic, which for many teachers highlighted the need for better pay and more security for themselves and their own families. […] Like many early childhood education administrators, I have had to close classrooms and reduce the number of children we care for because of staffing shortages. I have had to turn parents away, some of whom are faced with making the decision to quit their jobs because of a lack of quality, affordable child care.”

Forward Analytics: “A new report from Forward Analytics, Priced Out: The Steep Cost of Childcare in Wisconsin, shows childcare costs average between 18 and 36% of family income. And that is assuming they can find care since the number of childcare workers in the state declined 26% from 2010 to 2022. According to the new study, childcare for two young children costs more than $25,000 per year, more than the $22,000 price tag for tuition at UW-Madison.”

Spectrum News: “Forward Analytics’ new report showed that some families in Wisconsin are now spending up to 36% of their income on child care. […] ‘The ripple effect is that more and more two-parent households are going to have that discussion about whether one parent has to stay home because they can’t afford child care. It obviously has a ripple effect on the workforce,’ Dospoy said.”

Wisconsin State Journal: “Last Thursday, Assembly Republicans advanced six child care bills that would, among other measures, create a loan program for child care providers, lower the minimum age of child care workers and increase the number of children workers could supervise. […] ‘Without significant state funding to continue the program, the challenges are going to go from bad to worse,’ Jackie Anderson, director of Raising Wisconsin, a coalition that advocates for increased state funding for child care, said in a statement. ‘Unfortunately, the bills do strikingly little to address the longstanding child care cost and supply challenges that are affecting every corner of Wisconsin.’”

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