Disparities between the needs for equitably accessible, quality child care and current funding models are the focus of “The True Cost of Child Care: Erie County, NY,” a study produced by the ILR Buffalo Co-Lab in partnership with the Live Well Erie Emergency Child Care Task Force, child care providers and New York State Assembly Members Monica Wallace and Karen McMahon.
Findings from responses from 234 of Erie County’s 499 licensed child care providers and four focus groups, coupled with publicly available data, include:
- The average annual wage for full-time child care workers in Erie County is just over $23,000, with a median hourly wage of $10.38.
- The Erie County child care workforce, currently between 3,100 and 3,300 people, is the lowest it has been in over a decade, suffering an 11% reduction just between 2019 and 2020.
- Child care workers are disproportionately women (88%) and people of color (35%); low wages and poor benefits literally perpetuate racial and economic inequality.
- Child care providers reported working an average of 25 uncompensated hours weekly.
The full version of this story appears on the ILR website.
Kricky Ksiazek is the Collaboration and Research Specialist and High Road Program Coordinator at the ILR Buffalo Co-Lab.