Is childcare a business issue? A report shared by the Washington State Department of Commerce that indicates that “Yes” is the short answer. The FME Chamber also held a virtual forum with a panel of speakers with interests in childcare. Watch the full zoom call with our expert panelists, who are introduced below.

Speakers on the high level view of childcare

amy anderson, expert on childcare and business issues

Amy Anderson, one of our panelist is a chair of the Child Care Collaborative Task Force. Their Child Care Industry Assessment Report states that before the pandemic, over half a million children in Washington did not have access to licensed child care. Furthermore, nearly 20% of parents surveyed turned down a job offer or promotion due to child care issues.

What does all this mean when we factor Covid into the equation? “Many workers with children, especially women, will exit the labor force without safe, affordable child care options. As a result, businesses and employers ready to resume and expand will find fewer workers available,” said task force tri-chair Amy Anderson. “Washington’s economy will not recover without child care.” (Washington State Department of Commerce)

Rep Tana Senn is dedicated to childcare issues

Representative Tana Senn from the 41st Legislative District was another speaker on our panel. Prior to Covid, she introduced bipartisan legislation intended to make child care more affordable and more accessible in Washington. The Fair Start for Kids Act would reduce child care copays, support child care providers and build more child care facilities.

“Child care is more expensive than college. It’s costing our kids. It’s costing our families. And it’s costing our businesses.”

Speakers from businesses who provide childcare

Kylea Williams from Right at School will be offering a different kind of childcare this fall, in the form of camps at the schools. Right at School is typically the before and after school childcare working directly in the schools. This year will be a little different with remote learning for students. In fact, their goal for this fall is to support virtual learning. Of course, health and safety is something that they are monitoring and updating as needed. Registration is open at Right at School website.

Sean O'Leary from College Babysitters, Nannies and Tutors

Our final speaker was Sean O’Leary of College Nannies, Sitters and Tutors. His business is, more or less, a staffing agency for childcare providers. Providers can work in homes, or even at the office. They are currently partnering with another organization to ensure that their caregivers are getting training to be education coaches. That means that their caregivers can help manage the digital learning that will be a part of school this fall.

Clearly, childcare is a business issue.