Maxine Clark: Youngster care in Missouri wants bipartisan help | Visitor columnists

In our state alone, 294,000 children, or 71% under the age of six, have parents in the workforce. The majority of these children are in non-parental care for more than 10 hours a week. Many Missourians live in childcare deserts or in areas where there are more than three times as many children as licensed childcare places, making it difficult for working parents to access childcare programs. In addition, childcare in Missouri is very expensive and on average costs more than state tuition fees. Childcare programs are inaccessible to most working families in Missouri, affecting the economies of our state and our nation.

The advantages of a strong childcare system are many. In addition to helping parents and their young children, strengthening childcare facilities would attract other innovators and entrepreneurs to our state, which would help our economy flourish in the short and long term. Improving the accessibility and quality of childcare in Missouri would help support the economy for generations to come.

We just can’t stand by and let the childcare sector collapse. While I applaud the bipartisan pandemic relief package from Congress that provided $ 10 billion to stabilize the childcare sector late last year, there is still a lot to do. Continuing support for childcare systems in our state and across the country is essential to support providers and families and get our economies back on track.

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