Finding Safe, High-Quality Child Care is a Family Challenge

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March 2023

Big Loss of Childcare Providers Post Pandemic

Before the pandemic, the number of child care providers in the U.S. was already declining. Three years later and the problem is worse. Between December 2019 and March 2021, over 8,800 child care centers closed, and almost 7,000 licensed family child care programs ended. Years of low wages and lack of benefits have resulted in severe staffing shortages for child care programs. And many child care providers that temporarily closed during the pandemic, or had to lay off staff members, have not had the financial resources to reopen. Some that remain struggle to provide a safe, healthy environment.

Another U.S. Government Struggle: Banning Toxic Chemicals




The first known death due to asbestos was in 1906. In the 1970s, court documents proved that asbestos industry officials knew of its dangers since the 1930s and had concealed them from the public. In 1983, the mining of asbestos was stopped in the United States. So why is asbestos – and other toxic chemicals – still not banned in this country? According to a new report, the answer reveals a history of failure by regulators and lawmakers … and industry giants who prioritize profits over the health of their employees and customers.

Child Care Crises Affects Millions of American Parents

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Affordable, quality child care is difficult or impossible to find for many parents in the U.S.

The U.S. child care system continues to experience multiple crises, with families finding it difficult to locate reliable, affordable child care. Child care is the most expensive household expense nationwide, costing families even more than housing. Over 50% of families spend more than 20% of their household income on child care. Between 2020 and 2021, the overall availability of child care programs continued to decrease, leaving families with even fewer options than before the pandemic. And even though parents are shelling out thousands of dollars per year for child care, regulation and oversight of child care facilities is sorely lacking.


Safety Issues in Day Care

We keep far better statistics on pro sports in America than on deaths and injuries in child care settings. Regulations and reporting vary from state to state, and no federal reporting requirements exist for child care injuries and fatalities. If you’re trying to find a quality, licensed day care for your child, here are some tips to help you in your search:

  1. Start early. No matter what type of services you’re looking for, getting a child into any day care facility often takes time. Use a cost calculator to understand better how much you may pay for child care.
  2. Research your providers. Talk to referral agencies and ask about licensing requirements, complaints, violations, financial assistance programs, and more.
  3. Visit and ask questions. Ask about adult-to-child ratios, group size, caregiver qualifications, turnover, and accreditation.
  4. Stay involved. You and the caregivers are partners now. Remain active in your child’s life at day care and consistently check in with the day care providers.

More Questions to Ask

Here are just some of the essential safety questions you should be asking before you send your child to day care:

  • What education, training, and experience do the child care provider(s) have? Are all providers certified in CPR?
  • Are the proper car seats, booster seats, and seat belts used if traveling? Is there a transportation policy?
  • Does the caregiver have current references from other parents that you can use?
  • Will the child go outside? How will they be supervised while outside?
  • What food will the child be eating? What is their nutrition and allergy policy?
  • Is the child ever given medication? How will that be distributed?
  • Is the center licensed or registered with the appropriate local government agencies?
  • What is the protocol for a medical emergency?
  • Is the location secure? Who is allowed into the area, and what is the screening process?
  • What is the staffing ratio of children to caregivers? What happens if staff are out for illness or vacation?
  • What types of training are caregivers required to attend before starting at the facility, and do caregivers have any continuing education?


12.8 Million

There are an estimated 12.8 million children under the age of six in child care in the United States.


Transitioning to Day Care

Are you sending your child to day care for the first time? Watch this video to help prepare kids and parents for the big day care drop-off. 


Child Care Resource & Referral agencies help families find child care as well as assist child care providers with resources.