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Pandemic, childcare issues remain stressors for some Ohio parents, poll finds

Pandemic, childcare issues remain stressors for some Ohio parents, poll finds
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 12:21 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A recent survey from Groundwork Ohio found the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing childcare crisis remain major sources of stress for parents of children under the age of five.

Groundwork Ohio said these parents rely on access to affordable, quality childcare to work.

The organization’s recent polling illustrates parents and caregivers of children under the age of five are “struck in a grueling limbo” and have hit their “pandemic rock bottom.”

In December, Groundwork Ohio released a statewide poll showing that Ohio parents with children under the age of five are under immense pressure, and it is causing challenges at home and at work.

The poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, found that nearly half of Ohio parents with children under the age of five (47%) have had serious problems meeting work or family responsibilities, serious problems affording childcare or serious problems with child care that have impacted their work in recent months.

Additionally, the statewide survey revealed that the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of parents and their young children.

According to Groundwork’s poll, 86% of Ohio parents with children under the age of five said they have experienced stress from the COVID-19 pandemic, including more than one-third who said it has caused “a lot” of stress for them and their families.

Nearly seven in 10 parents with children under the age of five said they are worried about the mental or emotional health of their children.

“The pandemic has been a tipping point for many Ohio families, especially parents and caregivers of our youngest children,” said Chelsea Kiene, Director of Communications & Stakeholder Engagement at Groundwork Ohio. “Parents are telling us that they need quality, affordable childcare to go to work and that they are concerned about their children’s mental health. As we approach the third year of this pandemic, policymakers must listen and respond to the challenges these families are facing.”

Groundwork Ohio said childcare is now an economic issue.

The report also concluded 43% of working parents have had to cut back on hours to care for kids in the last few months.

Meanwhile, 60% of part-time or non-working moms reported they would go back to work if they had access to quality childcare at a reasonable cost.

Now, the organization is calling on policymakers to create long-term solutions.

“Conversations beyond that is making sure how do we expand access so that more families, you know, regardless of what part of the state you live in,” said Kiene. “Whether you’re in a rural community or in the cities, what are we doing to make sure that there is funding in place so that everybody has access to the quality care that they need and deserve?”

The organization also said federal rescue dollars are addressing this issue and much of Ohio’s funding is specific to childcare and providing better incentives to increase workforce and access for families.

It is also important to note that the federal government encourages facilities to use monies to solve single-use issues, as opposed to long-term fixes.

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