More than six out of every ten Louisiana children under age five, live in homes where both parents, or their single parent, work outside the home. Sixteen percent of parents with young children quit their jobs because of child care issues. Two out of five working parents missed a day of work over the previous three months, one out of five went from full to part-time, and more than one out of ten turned down a promotion - all because of child care issues.
I’ve been with IberiaBank for 14 years and have seen firsthand the stress that inadequate or irregular access to childcare can place on not just working families, but businesses. The recently released 2018 ALICE Report, underscored what we in business instinctively knew – the strain is getting worse, with a 33% increase in the cost of childcare just since 2010. How are hardworking families expected to weather this burden? And how are businesses expected to weather the effects of absent employees, or trained, talented staff leaving the workforce?
This February 11-15 is Early Ed Week in Louisiana, a week-long series of events across the state highlighting the importance of improving access to affordable, high quality early care and education for all Louisiana’s parents. I’m joining with the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, Louisiana Association of United Ways, United Way of Acadiana, One Acadiana, United Way of Acadiana’s Women United and United Way of Iberia, to speak up in support of increased, stable funding and a reliable funding mechanism to help Louisiana’s working families afford early care and education for their children.
As it currently stands, the cost of early care and education in Louisiana is on par with the cost of a college tuition. Many of our young working families simply cannot afford to pay that much money out of pocket any more than they can afford to stay at home.
Louisiana’s economy needs Louisiana workers. And our working families need access to high quality early care and education. Please spend time reading the ALICE Report found at www.unitedwayofacadiana.org and consider joining us as advocates. To live better, we must live united.
Jerry Vascocu, Acadiana Regional President, IberiaBank