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Experts discuss lack of dependable child care in Montana

Posted at 9:56 PM, May 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 23:56:52-04

HELENA – Business owners, child care experts and state leaders met in Helena on Wednesday to discuss the challenges working parents in Montana face in finding affordable childcare.

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry reports that the Treasure State ranks 40th in the nation for dependable child care. There are currently only enough child care resources to meet 40% of the state demand.

The Childcare Solutions to Support Your Workforce Summit looked at Montana’s early child care systems and the importance of employers understanding that employees are sometimes forced to quit their careers in order to take care of things at home, leaving them to survive off less income.

The meeting analyzed how employees are being forced to cut back on work in order to look after their children,  economic impact versus opportunity, and the successful efforts from Montana businesses and those of other states.

“So we know that having access to high-quality child care is really important to parents and families so that their kids can get a great start in life,” Siri Smillie, education policy advisor for Gov. Steve Bullock, said.

“But we also know that with workforce participation rates higher than ever and unemployment as low as ever, we really need for employers to have access for those employees and when they have to leave the workforce because of the cost of child care, or because they can’t afford childcare. That’s a detriment to our economy.”

If you are a working parent in need of child care resources, click here.

-Christine Sullivan reporting for MTN News