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Child care shortage greatly affecting Burbank families, study finds

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Access to affordable child care is vital to ensure the healthy social and emotional development of young children, as well as the economic growth of the community. The findings of a newly released needs assessment conducted by CCRC show only a third of Burbank children have access to child care.

In 2019, Burbank YMCA convened a group of stakeholders to discuss the need for infant care spaces in Burbank. CCRC received funding in 2022 to conduct The Burbank Child Care Needs Assessment to determine if there was a need for additional child care facilities. In the final report, CCRC found only 36% of children under age six in Burbank have access to child care. Even though the median income of survey respondents was notably higher than that of the Los Angeles County average, they responded that high costs of living and child care diminished their economic mobility.

We found in our analysis that there is a need for not only financial assistance for child care services, but also additional services like programs that provide care for families working part- and full-time, services for single-parent households, additional child care spaces and facilities to reduce the long waitlists, and infant care spaces to meet the current needs of families and the projected needs of future families.

As the report shows, single mother households in Burbank need the most assistance and are utilizing public assistance the most. Single mothers spent 20% of their income on child care, while earning well below the median income in California with an annual income of $55,000. Our survey found 49% of participants indicated they were eligible for child care and meet the new income limit for statewide financial assistance for child care. About 97% of eligible participants said they would apply. Lastly, our needs assessment reviewed infant care spaces, where about 36% of participants seeking care had been on a waiting list.

Children who participate in high-quality early care and education programs show improvements in many key facets of child development: social-emotional competencies, cognitive ability, and academic achievement. In the first few years of a child’s life, between 700 and 1,000 neural connections form every second. While the years between birth and age 5 are critical for brain development, most important is how parents and caregivers interact with young children during this time. With large-scale growth projected for the city’s near future, the Burbank Child Care Needs Assessment report indicates there is a clear need for more support from the city to address child care services and availability.

Here are CCRC’s suggestions:

  • Build on their relationships and connections with city stakeholders to address concerns facing families in Burbank and those who work in Burbank.
  • Offer financial assistance to single-parent households, low-income, and families earning wages above the financial assistance threshold.
  • Invest in additional services for families who are hybrid or part-time workers such as open facilities that provide a variety of hours or type of care options.
  • Leverage new state and federal funding. The American Rescue Plan invested $24 billion in child care and added 200,000 child care spaces through the Alternative Payment Program.

Read the full report here.

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