by Alessandra Lezama, Founder & CEO, TOOTRiS
For generations, the Child Care system in our country has failed our children, parents, providers, and our economy. As millions of families struggle financially, the lack of quality, affordable care is also costing the business community $57 billion annually through lost earnings, productivity, and revenue. We can’t keep doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. We must do something different. Innovation through technology is the key to building a scalable and sustainable system.
For decades, advocates have pulled in federal, state, and local funding for Early Childhood Education and Care; yet, it’s had very little impact. Still, the spending continues to fuel high levels of inefficiency in the system, compounding the negative impact. In San Diego alone, the average price of Child Care consumes 40% of the monthly budget for a family with two children. It can actually cost more to send a child to daycare than it does to send them to college at UCSD or SDSU. The fallout is especially felt by women, who make up 94% of those involuntarily working part-time due to Child Care issues.
According to a study by the San Diego Workforce Partnership, up to 40% of families fall into a chasm where they don’t qualify for subsidies, but also don’t make enough to afford Child Care. Employers who have tried offering Child Care have also faced barriers such as complex regulations, liability risk, and administrative issues.
The Child Care industry needs a revolutionary new approach, based on technology, similar to the wave of transformation that swept the healthcare industry in 2011. A unifying platform that brings all the Child Care stakeholders – the seven-headed monster – together so they can connect and transact to provide working parents the broadest choice in quality Child Care options.
A platform like TOOTRiS solves the problem through a nationwide network that gives parents real-time access to standard and non-standard care, as well as enabling businesses to easily incorporate low-cost, high-value Child Care benefits for their employees - at a time when they need it most.
Child Care Benefits Deliver Best Possible Outcomes
For example, imagine that Miranda is a San Diego parent who receives Child Care benefits from her employer, ‘Awesome Company’, through TOOTRiS. Within the TOOTRiS platform she can quickly find, vet, and compare Child Care providers by searching more than 120 unique criteria to meet her family’s very specific needs. She then has access to real-time availability and the tools and resources necessary to enroll directly online.
The Child Care benefit Miranda receives, as well as her designated Flexible Spending Account (FSA) funds and any subsidies she may qualify for, are now automatically applied toward her Child Care costs (breaking out, if any, out-of-pocket expenses). And at the end of the year, both she and Awesome Company receive a detailed expense report to apply toward tax deductions. Now Miranda shows up for work, is happier, her children are benefiting from quality early education, and she’s a far more productive employee.
FACT: The average parent is absent from work 9 to 13 days each year due to Child Care issues. In addition, 65% of all parents are late to work, or must leave early, because of challenges with their Child Care.
FACT: For 72% of workforce parents, lack of Child Care is a barrier to achieving their professional goals. Of those, 83% say they would quit to join a company with more family-friendly benefits.
FACT: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found companies that provide Child Care assistance decrease absences by 30%, job turnover by 60%, while increasing productivity more than 30% and recruiting efforts by 80%.
Today’s working parents – millennials and Gen Zs – born with a computer and phone in hand, find the current Child Care system archaic and inefficient. Businesses competing for top talent have quickly realized that investing in providing Child Care benefits is a rich proposition for their workforce, while yielding the highest ROI.
Most significantly, it creates a working environment where working families feel supported and encouraged to advance in their careers, and helps significantly grow recruitment, retention, and employee morale.
TOOTRiS gives business leaders a competitive edge, automates the Child Care workflow process, and provides seamless, turnkey benefit solutions with no administrative burdens.
Child Care is pivotal to San Diego’s economic recovery, growth, and the development of our future workforce, yet less than 6% of our region’s workforce have access to employer-sponsored Child Care. The more businesses empower working parents, the stronger San Diego’s workforce and economy will be. Together with TOOTRiS, the business community can help transform San Diego’s Child Care environment into the nation’s best, one that benefits families, employers, providers, and the economy.
TOOTRiS gives business leaders a competitive edge. For more information, visit info.tootris.com/grow/