Accessibility to Child Care
Accessibility to Child Care is a big issue, especially if you are a single parent. The high cost coupled with the low availability of childcare programs can leave single parents depending on people who may not be qualified to care for their children while they work.
Access to high-quality care for single-parents often depends on how much states are willing to subsidize for childcare assistance. The Federal government has recommended payment rates at “the 75th percentile of current market rates—the rate designed to allow families access to 75 percent of providers in their community” (Key State Child Care Assistance Policies in 2017, State by State).
In this aspect, Kansas is one of the more generous states. Kansas provider payment rate for center care for a one-year-old whose family is receiving child care assistance, in the state’s most populous city/county/region is only $150 less than the federally recommended level compared to Missouri which pays $318 less and approves families up to 136 percent poverty level while Kansas is more generous at 183 percent poverty level. The more generous state of Texas which offers childcare assistance for families up 182 – 249 percent poverty level only pays out $93 less than the recommended level. The problem with Texas, they have 41,593 children on a waiting list since early 2017 (Key State Child Care Assistance Policies in 2017, State by State). Check out the website for information on your state and comment below.
High Cost of Childcare
The cost of center-based infant care is grossly out of reach for many single parents. “Across all 50 states, the cost of center-based infant care averaged more than 40 percent of the median income for single mothers” (2017 Report). In Kansas, that number goes up to 48.7 percent of the median income for single mothers for center-based care and 28.8 percent for home-based care. For a single mother with two children, the cost is 83 percent of the median income for single mothers for center-based care and 54.3 percent for home-based care (Cost of Care, 2017). In Kansas, the median hourly rate per cost area of accredited childcare centers is $5.01 (high), $3.59 (medium), and $2.48 (low). Monthly rates for full-time care in an accredited center costs $976.20 (high), $699.51 (medium), and $483.23 (low) for one child (Table 13: Comparison of Full-Time Median Hourly Rates of Accredited and Non-Accredited
Providers, p 14 ).
Inadequate Availability of Child Care
Kansas currently does not have a waiting list for childcare assistance (Key State Child Care Assistance Policies in 2017, State by State), however, they do lack licensed childcare placements for nearly 49 percent of children under age 6 potentially needing childcare (Checking In: A Snapshot of the Child Care Landscape – 2017 State Fact Sheets). This is not a substantial improvement over the 2016 fact sheet which showed Kansas lacking childcare placements for nearly 50 percent of children under age 6 potentially needing childcare.
Another major problem for single-parent families across the nation is childcare placements for nonstandard hours. Forty-three percent of all children live with a parent working a nonstandard schedule.
- 30.4% are living with mom only
- 37.4% are living with dad only
- 50% are living with two parents
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2014 Panel, Wave 1
Many of these nonstandard schedules are for low-wage jobs, “Nearly one in five working mothers of very young children work in low-wage jobs—jobs that frequently involve evening, overnight, weekend, or irregular hours” (Gabrielle Rodrigues, 2018).
Typical Low-wage Occupations with the Majority of Work During Nonstandard Hours
- Over half of waiters and waitresses
- More than four in ten home health aides
- One-third of cashiers and personal care aides
A 2015 National Survey of Early Care & Education (NSECE) found that only 8 percent of center-based early care education (ECE) providers offer any type of care during nonstandard hours;
- 2 percent offer evening care.
- 6 percent offer overnight care.
- 3 percent offer weekend care. (National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 2015, p. 2)
Of the home-based ECE providers that reported offering some care during nonstandard hours, only 34 percent were listed, in Kansas “listed” would be the same as licensed:
- 82 percent were unlisted, unpaid.
- 63 percent were unlisted, paid.
- 34 percent were listed. (p. 2)
When No Licensed Program is Available
Laughlin (2013) found that in a typical week during the spring of 2011, 61.3 percent of the 20.4 million children under 5 years of age were in some type of regular child care arrangement while 38.7 percent had no regular arrangement.
Only 23.5 percent of preschoolers receiving care were in the care of organized care facilities and 4.6 percent were in a family daycare. Most (42.1%) were in relative care: mother (3.5%), father (17.8%), sibling (2.6%), Grandparent (23.7%), or other relative (7.4%) (Laughlin, 2013).
Laughlin also notes that parents sometimes experience difficulty securing supervised arrangements and self-care may be used more out of necessity than choice. The average hours per week spent in self-care among children age 5 to 11 years were 4.5 and 7.4 hours per week for children age 12 to 14 years. The majority of children ages 5 to 11 (47.9%) in self-care spent less than 2 hours in self-care per week, 20.9 percent spent 2 to 4 hours, 16.1 percent spent 5 to 9 hours, and 15.1 percent of children ages 5 to 11 years spent 10 or more hours per week in self-care (Laughlin, 2013).
Why is Access to Quality Childcare Important?
Children are less likely to experience maltreatment from quality childcare providers. Nationally, only 0.3 percent of perpetrators were child daycare providers. In Kansas, there was zero child daycare provider maltreatment perpetrators reported in 2016. Children are more likely to experience maltreatment under the care of a parent; 77.6 percent of child maltreatment perpetrators nationwide and 61% of perpetrators in Kansas was a parent to their victim. Another unsettling fact is that 6.2 percent of perpetrators nationwide were non-parental relatives of the victim, in Kansas, 15 percent of perpetrators were non-parental relatives of the victim (Child Maltreatment 2016).
We envision a state-of-the-art childcare and community resource center focused on the needs of the single parent. The center would be open 24-hours per day, 7-days per week offering high-quality childcare for full-time, part-time, drop-in, summer, and nonstandard hours care.
The center will offer quality care and education for all age children and supervised and stimulating activities for teens. The resource center will also offer programs for parents such as parenting classes, cooking classes, budgeting classes, and more. The resource center will have access to the internet and computers so parents can study or take online classes. The ultimate vision of this organization is to create a single-parent housing community which would include this childcare and community resource center.
If you would like to help make this vision a reality please check out the Get Involved section of this site.
If you are a single parent needing access to childcare, housing, or programs mentioned above, please contact us and share your need.
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