When the Child Care Gap Is a Chasm

How the COVID-19 pandemic worsened existing shortages of early learning and child care programs, slowing down the economic recovery and putting some kids at risk (EWA Radio Episode 264)

In many communities, the demand for reliable, affordable child care has long outstripped the number of available spots. The coronavirus pandemic has only worsened the shortage, and many mothers have left the workforce to stay with their young children.

In central Washington, the situation is taking a bite out of the local economy, and putting young learners at risk of falling behind, reports Janelle Retka of the Yakima Herald-Republic in a new series – The Growth Gap. Retka, an EWA Reporting Fellow, shares what she’s learned about the human and economic tolls in her community. She also explains what the research shows about the longer term value of high-quality early care and education, and how public-private partnerships are helping families.

In addition, Retka discusses why making the project stories available in both English and Spanish was a top priority, and how using a newsletter format for distribution is helping her connect and engage with readers.

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