by Ryan Burns
Have we mentioned before how badass is the California Center for Rural Policy (CCRP)? No? Well, it is. The research center, located on the campus of Humboldt State University, aims to improve the health and well-being of rural people (like us) through the power of data. The center's previous reports have addressed rural Internet connectivity, access to health care and wasted food, among other topics.
"Funding for child care is the lowest it has been in almost a decade, despite the increased costs associated with providing care and a growing population," the report states.
Authors Melissa Jones, Wendy Rowan and Connie Stewart argue for the financial benefits of employee child care programs, particularly those that provide early child care and education. Here are a few of the report's key points:
The cost of full-time day care for an infant in Humboldt County is 19 percent, compared to 15 percent statewide
Every dollar spent on early child care and education yields two dollars in economic output, according to a report from the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center
Early education helps to counterbalance the negative effects of poverty on social and economic success, which is particularly relevant locally since, in Humboldt County, almost 30 percent of families with children below age 5 live below the poverty line
The average annual salary of child care workers locally is typically half of the annual salary earned by elementary school teachers
Ultimately, the report calls on local employers to "work together to support [the] child care needs of their employees if they do not do so already." And it offers a few suggestions, ranging from monetary assistance to flexible scheduling to partnering with local resource agencies like Changing Tides Family Services.
The CCRP, always thirsty for more data, is planning to compile a report on exactly how child care supports local industries. If you're a parent and would like to help, take this here survey.