BEND, OR -- The Bend Chamber released results this week of a study into the cost and availability of child care in Central Oregon and how the overall economy is impacted. The report shows a lack of local childcare options impacts nearly 75% of Central Oregonian families, and 92% of businesses say the childcare shortage affects employee attendance.
Kara Tachikawa is the Executive Director of Inspire Early Learning Centers and a member of the chamber’s Childcare Task Force. She says a Redmond business owner told her he’s losing employees over the lack of daycare options, "One of his key employees couldn’t come to work because he couldn’t find childcare. So, he’s considering different options. He saying potentially half of the workforce are staying home with their kids, so, ‘I can use some of those employees, so how do I make it so that they can come to work?’." Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Tachikawa.
Some childcare facilities have two-year waiting lists. Tachikawa says one father was so frustrated with the situation, he said, "So my wife is pregnant and you’re saying we should’ve gotten on the wait list before we were married?" And, she says some parents are forced to stay home when they can’t find affordable, qualified daycare, "There are other families who, grandmas and grandpas are moving to town, aunts and uncles are moving to town," Tachikawa tells KBND News. In some cases, they use neighbors or local teens and, "Some families are able to find a nanny share; there’s a new business launching, I think August or September, that is a nanny introduction service, so that families would have someone to call who has already background checked all of the families."
The report also found the expense is prohibitive for many, with some families saying the pay the same on childcare as they do on their mortgage. Tachikawa says the new data is important to helping the task force look for solutions, "We’ve talked about working with developers to include childcare in any sort of multi-family housing unit. We’ve talked about trying to partner with businesses where businesses would reserve slots." The Bend Chamber's Childcare Task Force meets again on Monday.