Child-Care Deserts: New Research Shows Middle-Income and Rural Families Disproportionately Affected
When Cathy Belair was searching for child care a couple of years ago for her two young granddaughters in Fletcher, N.C., the middle school math teacher said she found only two “quality” options that had space for the girls and also opened early enough for her to drop them off before work.
So Belair, 56, and her husband, a 60-year-old school custodian, “dipped considerably” into their retirement savings to cobble together more than $1,500 a month for child care. After months on a waiting list, they secured spots for the girls in a different program that was covered first by a scholarship, then financed in part by government child-care vouchers.
Belair lives in a “child-care desert,” or an area where demand for space in licensed child-care programs far outpaces local capacity, according to an analysis released Monday of child-care supply and demand by researchers at the University of Minnesota and the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress (CAP).