Community partners work together to solve the childcare crisis

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 11:00 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Childcare continues to be an ongoing issue for many across the country and in central Wisconsin. Now, six community partners are joining forces to discuss the lack of childcare accessibility. It’s part of the Marathon County Community Conversation on Childcare.

The North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board is taking action to battle childcare issues.

“We are coming off of COVID experiencing a massive labor shortage,” said Elsa Duranceau, the worker advancement initiative grant coordinator for North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board.

So the organization partnered with Marathon County, the City of Wausau, and multiple childcare agencies to discuss childcare issues in the area.

“Not only are there a loss of childcare workers, but then people who can’t go to work because of child care,” said Duranceau.

The organizations said the lack of childcare has a trickle-down effect on the workforce.

“The cost of childcare is too high so parents are deciding to stay home and that’s just increasing the labor shortage even more,” said Duranceau.

Kelly Matthews is the co-director of the Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Network. She said increased regulations and expectations for providers are one of the many reasons for the childcare shortage. She said the pandemic is another.

“We have really seen the clear picture come forward that the wages that are available in childcare are not where they need to be to support the professionals that are doing this work,” said Matthews.

Matthews said there needs to be more money invested in childcare to get central Wisconsin counties back on track.

“Parents can not pay the full cost of care nor should they. Child care is actually a public good and so everybody benefits when there is good quality care in the community,” said Matthews.

The childcare experts said it’s a problem everyone should be involved in solving.

The North Central Wisconsin Workforce said the next step in their strategic plan is to get employers engaged in the conversation. The first employer round table is October 21 in Mosinee.

NewsChannel 7′s Emily Davies has covered the Daycare Dilemma facing parents in central Wisconsin. You can see her stories by clicking here.