Lack of childcare costing Indiana more than $1B

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- If you can’t find childcare, you’re not alone.

Experts agree there is a lack of places to send your kids across Indiana, but a new study reveals it’s more than just a challenge for parents. In fact, the study says the lack of childcare is costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars every year in lost economic revenue.

The study was conducted by the IU Public Policy Institute with funding by Early Learning Indiana. It estimates Hoosier businesses spend about $1.8 billion per year paying wages for absent employees and lost productivity coming from a lack of childcare. Moreover, it says about 11,000 parents a year just quit their jobs because of childcare needs.

All of that translates into a $1.1 billion dollar impact on the state economy.

For many Hoosier families, finding childcare is easier said than done.

“It was actually really hard,” said Maria Sanchez, an Indianapolis mom.

She finally got her 3-year-old son Lorenzo into a program, but she said a mix of factors made finding good childcare tough.

“A combination of everything,” said Sanchez, “the [affordability], the quality, the area.”

Experts who conducted the study said the numbers they discovered were staggering.

“Both the impact on business [and] the impact on our economy as a whole,” said Maureen Weber, Early Learning Indiana President and CEO, “we know that it’s hard for families to afford quality early learning opportunities, and also that in many communities there simply aren’t enough available.”

She said there’s no easy solution to the problem. And whatever the fix looks like, it will likely take a joint effort by everyone involved.

“I think we’re interested in just understanding how do we get all the players on the field and make sure that we’re not keeping workers out of the workforce because they can’t find child care,” said Weber.