The harsh realities of childcare still won’t allow people to return to work nearly 2 years into the COVID-19 pandemic

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DURHAM, NC (WNCN) — Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, access to child care still plays a role in some parents’ ability to return to work.

John Quinterno, a professor of public policy at Duke University, said that according to the US jobs report released on Friday, about 418,000 people in the United States said they wanted to work, but were not looking for work. due to child care issues.

“It’s still a significant issue in that we still have these disruptions that make it very difficult for people to plan,” Quinterno said.

Childcare can also be expensive for many parents, including Andrew Adams.

“It’s very difficult – I was lucky enough to figure it out,” Adams said.

Another parent, Nicole Post, said daycare for her 11-month-old was almost as much as her mortgage. Post said she had friends who dropped by work on the weekends to be home with their kids.

“It was really hard to find a good place that we really liked, that had the right stars, the right quality rating, but was within our budget,” Post said.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average annual cost of infant care in North Carolina is $9,480. This is more than the cost of University of North Carolina tuition.

Marsha Basloe, president of the Child Care Services Association, said high childcare costs were nothing new.

She said access to child care still plays a partial role in some parents’ ability to work.

“It’s a combination, they can’t have them kept because some programs have had to close classrooms and because they really aren’t making the money they need to be able to pay for child care” , Basloe said. “That’s why we talk about early learning as a public good. That’s why we really hope there will be more federal dollars to be able to pay for early childhood services.

Basloe said the pandemic has really brought child care issues to the fore by showing how important it was to allow essential workers to go to work during the pandemic when the rest of the state was mostly down. firm.

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