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Economy losing billions due to childcare, how Central Illinois parents are coping

By Marley Capper,


CENTRAL ILLINOIS, Ill. (WCIA)– Many families know the struggle of juggling work and childcare. It’s not a new issue. But a new study shows how much it is impacting the US economy.

A new study from non-profit, ReadyNation , reports the US economy is losing $122 billion dollars a year when parents miss work from inadequate childcare.

They say not having enough childcare costs parents over 5 thousand dollars a year.

But these numbers don’t shock parents like Lauren Foran, they’re part of the reason why she sold her salon.

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“I sold my business in Champaign and started working from home because I was working around my son’s preschool schedule which was eight to three,” said Foran.

She used to own Thrive Salon in Champaign, but with childcare restrictions, she could only work around 6 hours a day.

“If there’s a snow day or in the years past with Covid closings or some sickness going around then it shuts down daycare and then I’m canceling a full day of clients just to rush back and pick them up and go home”, said Foran.

The ReadyNation study shows on average, businesses lose over $1,600 dollars a year for each working parent they employ.

But when Foran missed 1 fully booked day, she would lose upwards of $2,000 dollars.

That doesn’t account for how much she would lose if her employees had to call out for similar reasons.

Central Illinois daycare workers waiting for monthly IDHS payments

“Every time they were out of the business, they lost money and I lost money,” said Foran.

She says for the cost of daycare and other bills, the 30-minute commute from Monticello to Champaign just wasn’t worth the money and time lost with her kids.

“That definitely played a huge role in why I decided to sell and decided to move home because I couldn’t continue to sort of beat my head against the wall fighting the childcare situation when running a business has enough of its own challenges,” said Foran.

She’s not alone. Kalene Morse is in cosmetology school and has a 10-month-old in daycare. She waited a year to get him in.

She says he has been getting sick which means she can’t work.

“It’s hard to find a new job to potentially get money to provide him to work within those hours,” said Morse.

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Morse does get a grant from the U of I to help pay for childcare but with the time lost at work, she’s had to take out student loans to help cover her bills.

“If people can’t work because they have to be there for their kids, it’s even harder,” said Morse.

So, while she pushes through with the help of her family, she wishes more resources were available so other parents who want to better themselves don’t have to go into debt to do so.

Foran wants the same. She says a lack of accessible and quality childcare is just another barrier working parents face in achieving economic power.

“Selling a business was extremely stressful to find the right buyer and to get into a situation to where I can leave everything that I had built in Champaign,” said Foran.

The report also found that the government loses too, about $21 billion in lost income and sales tax revenues a year. Parents without enough childcare earn less and therefore consume less in their communities.

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