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Child care crisis impacting local businesses

BELLINGHAM Wash. The Opportunity Council recently partnered with the Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce to survey member businesses and identify how child care issues are impacting the workplace.

The survey results confirmed the impact on businesses, with 88 percent of the responding business owners reporting that child care barriers affect their employees’ work performance. The 33 responding businesses employ a total of 5,900 people and range in size from two to over 750 employees.

The report, Whatcom County Child Care Crisis: Business Impacts, identifies child care barriers, including a lack of child care options, waiting lists and rising costs. Specific examples in the report note the Whatcom Family YMCA has over 300 children on its waiting list and the cost for one year of infant child care in Whatcom County now exceeds the cost of one year of Western Washington University tuition.

Businesses who responded to the survey said child care barriers like these have resulted in increased absences as well as challenges with recruitment and retention. One employer noted that they “had employees resign after having a child due to lack of infant daycare.”  

The report also includes proposed child care solutions, including flexible work schedules and on-site or partner child care arrangements.

This report was released July 12 and is now available on the Opportunity Council’s website, www.oppco.org.  For more information, contact the Opportunity Council’s Quality Child Care Manger, Wilanne Ollila-Perry at wilanne_ollila-perry@nulloppco.org.

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Distributed to Whatcom County media outlets

2018-08-01T10:00:06-07:00
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