COVID-19 has driven some New Jersey parents with children under 3 years old out of the workforce—predominately women—and reduced affordable quality child care options, according to a new statewide survey conducted by Farleigh Dickinson University Poll and funded by The Nicholson Foundation.
Nearly 40% of parents of infants and toddlers said it was more difficult to find affordable child care since the pandemic began. In addition, since the state reopened child care on June 15, 38% of parents with children under three report their child care costs have increased. More Hispanic (53%) and Black (41%) families report their child care costs have increased when compared to that of non-Hispanic White families (31%).
Since the start of the pandemic, more than one in 10 (14%) parents of young children in New Jersey said they quit their jobs to help manage child care, with six times more women impacted than men (19% versus 3%). Seventeen percent of parents indicated they were forced to reduce their work hours and 8% said they took an unpaid leave of absence.
“Even under normal circumstances, balancing child care and work can be challenging. COVID-19 has certainly made it much harder,” said Kimberly Boller, Ph.D., Chief Strategy and Evaluation Officer at The Nicholson Foundation. “COVID-19 has greatly increased the child care burden on parents, making it more difficult to work outside the home and find high-quality, affordable care for infants and toddlers.”