KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s child care crisis is now a top priority for Governor Mike Parson.
Parson gave his state of the state address on Wednesday, where he proposed three new child care tax credit programs.
The proposal comes as families struggle to find affordable child care, while providers struggle with staffing shortages.
The search for a Kansas City area mom lasted six months before she could find something in her budget. However, that meant moving 30 minutes from Overland Park to Basehor.
Eleven-month-old Ezra is all smiles at his nursery. But mom Morgan Reed says it took her months to find an affordable option without a long waiting list.
“He loves daycare,” she said. “Some of these day care centers cost between $1,700 and $1,800 a month for a single child. That’s more than my house payment and car payment combined.”
The problem that affects families on both sides of the state line.
“To help solve this problem, we are proposing three new child care tax credit programs,” Parson said Wednesday.
The programs would improve child care facilities, help employers who support their workers with child care assistance, and give more child care workers a pay raise.
Parson is also requesting $56 million to expand pre-K options and $78 million to increase child care subsidy rates.
“We know that child care continues to be a struggle for many parents and businesses,” she said.
Wendy Doyle is CEO and President of United WE, an organization that works for the economic advancement of women.
“We lost about 400 day care centers in the state of Missouri as a result of the pandemic with no plans to reopen,” Doyle said.
They spent the last two years investigating the child care crisis. Following a study last summer, United WE held meetings with mothers and child care providers, listening to their struggles.
“For a single mom, sometimes it can be up to a third of her income to be able to pay for childcare,” Doyle said.
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She says it will take a long time to build Missouri’s infrastructure before child care can improve. Something that can’t be soon enough for moms like Reed.
“Money is a weight on many people’s shoulders,” Reed said.
Her advice to other moms is that it’s never too early to start looking for daycare. One of her friends is currently searching, but she sees some waiting lists as long as nine months.
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