Childcare summit focuses on gaps in care opportunities

The lack of child care providers is an issue for a lot of families and now some area business leaders are coming together to try to find a solution.

The 7 Rivers Alliance hosted an event Tuesday taking a look at the amount of child care deserts in the region.

A child care desert is defined as an area with more than 50 children under the age of 5 that contains either no child care providers or there are more than three times as many children as licensed child care slots.

In Wisconsin, 54 percent of all residents live in a child care desert.

In rural Wisconsin that percentage jumps to 68 percent.

Business leaders say expanding child care opportunities will benefit all businesses.

“There is not a lot of profit for the childcare centers, and yet parents are having to spend a lot on childcare and so that’s the real challenge is until we can address the capacity issue, we’re going to struggle with childcare,” said Chris Hardie, 7 Rivers Alliance CEO.

According to data from the Parenting Place, the amount of regulated child care facilities in Wisconsin has decreased by more that 75 percent in the past 20 years.

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