State of the Industry
The Survey Results
In a one-week survey, 123 programs were represented, indicating that their programs are currently running short in program enrollment by 3,621 spaces. 81% of those programs indicated that staff shortages were the primary reason they were unable to enroll any more children than currently in care. Between the 91 survey respondents, they were down a total of 419 staff members.
- 123 programs represented
- 91 respondents
- Industry Down 419 Staff Members
- Regular Capacity: 10,724
- Current Enrollment: 7103
- 3621 Vacant Spaces
- 81% Due To Staffing
- 19% Due to Covid
Our Challenge and Our Solution
An Economy In Peril
Child care availability is foundational to a healthy and vibrant economy. Much like every other industry, the child care industry is in crisis. Unfortunately, unless the child care industry stabilizes the rest of the economy remains in peril.
Providers statewide have wait lists for children that they are unable to enroll due to the critical staff shortages. Centers are paying staff at a higher wage than ever before but are still unable to retain staff. Existing qualified staff are leaving in droves for less stressful work options.
Regulatory Compliance Demands
The demands of a program to remain in strict compliance with stringent child care regulations is adding pressure to an already untenable situation.
Credentialing System Regulations With 4-6 Week Delays Should be Lifted
A great option for qualifying child care assistants and early childhood teachers is through the credentialling system. As supportive as the option could potentially be, the 4-6+ week wait for approval forces programs to under-employ, under-compensate, and under-utilize staff that could help alleviate pressure. It is critical that this requirement in the new regulations be lifted. The Office of Early Childhood is unable to staff at a level to effectively support this function and the delays are contributing greatly to the industry’s inability to recover.
Apply for Credential
The requirement to apply for rather than receive the credential could be added to the pending rule change and all credentials could be subject to review. This would provide the state with the needed data while giving programs the freedom to hire and utilize staff for positions they are qualified for immediately upon hire. This change can be made in the pending rule set. Also, the immediate implementation of the rule set would be extremely useful for the industry due to the decrease in credentialling requirements contained in the new rule set, especially if coupled with the requested change.
Time is now to make the change
Any delay is costing the industry and ultimately the economy more than we can afford.