Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Family Economic Security > In summer the child care drought only gets worse

In summer the child care drought only gets worse

Working parents with school-age kids struggle to find child care every summer, some coming up so short that they’re forced to work less. But the lack of child care is a year-round problem that has gotten worse since the pandemic. From September 2019 through April 2022, the number of spots for preschool and school-age children dropped by nearly 7.5 percent—more than 1,800 spots, about half in licensed centers and half through registered home providers. Over the same period infant and toddler spots remained steady but scarce, continuing the years-long acute shortage in infant care. 

Most of the capacity loss for older kids can be attributed to provider closures. Vermont had 15 fewer licensed centers and 79 fewer registered home providers in 2022 than in 2019, a 2 percent and 16 percent drop, respectively. Staffing shortages and pandemic adjustments have also contributed, causing some centers to reduce class size, number of classrooms, or program hours.



The number of Vermont jobs plummeted in the spring of 2020 in response to the public health crisis. But—while not back to the pre-pandemic peak—jobs recovered in the past two years have far outnumbered those added after earlier recessions. In May 2022, Vermont had 299,700 jobs, 16,100 fewer than in January 2020.





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