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National Call to Action Event Highlights Tremendous Impact of “A Day Without Child Care”

Posted on May 10, 2024

Johnstown, PA (May 10, 2024) – For generations, early childhood educators, parents, families, and caregivers have been fighting for equitable access to affordable child care—and—better pay and working conditions for providers and staff. On Monday, May 13, 2024, child care advocates nationwide will take action by participating in the third annual “Day Without Child Care.” 

The event is hosted by Community Change Action, a national organization that fights for a society where everyone can thrive. In years past, “A Day Without Child Care” included hundreds of providers, with the support of the families they serve, opting to close their doors or call out sick for one day to illustrate how the country will be impacted if we don’t address our child care crisis and providers are forced to close their doors for good.

“Cambria County has lost 17 child care providers and 385 child care slots since the pandemic,” said Dr. Leah Spangler, president & CEO of The Learning Lamp and Ignite Education Solutions. “The Learning Lamp alone has nearly 400 children on waitlists for care at our birth-to-five and school-age programs, and we have veteran staff leaving to take higher-paying jobs in retail. Child care, as it stands, is meeting no one’s needs.”

Although The Learning Lamp will participate in “A Day Without Child Care” with a targeted social media campaign, it will not close its doors to parents because it recognizes the hardship even one day without care can cause.

Bethany Zawisza is one such working parent whose family depends upon access to reliable child care. Her son is enrolled at The Learning Lamp Center for Children in Somerset. “A day without child care would be a day without being able to work for me,” she explained in the simplest of terms.

Currently, The Learning Lamp’s birth-to-five and school-age care programs support 1,455 working parents employed by 724 distinct employers (retail, manufacturing, health care, human services, schools and universities, and local, county, state, and federal government agencies) in six counties—Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland. What is the potential impact of just one day without child care on those families?

Using the median household income for each county in which TLL operates, one day without care could cost parents/caregivers an estimated $310,377 in lost wagesjust for the day. Statewide, the toll is even greater. Pennsylvania loses approximately $6.6 billion annually due to child care issues—a cost shouldered by families, employers, and taxpayers, according to a PA Chamber of Commerce report.

As a parent, Bethany Zawisza’s concern about “A Day Without Child Care” goes beyond her getting to work. For her child, she said, the impact would be so much more. “It would be a day without his best friends, without his beloved teachers, without silly songs and educational play, without the excited “Did you know?” stories he tells his brothers at the end of his day,” she added.

In addition to centers closing their doors for the day, the national movement includes town hall meetings, roundtable discussions with lawmakers, rallies, and other innovative strategies to shine a spotlight on the true cost of child care and demand the funding needed for a 21st-century child care system. The nationwide day of action was introduced in 2022 and was held in 24 states and Washington, D.C. last year. Organizers expect the event to gain momentum as the crisis reaches a tipping point in 2024.

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The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high-quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. In 2023, The Learning Lamp and our school-based division Ignite Education Solutions directly served 37,524 children and adults. In addition to our own program locations, we worked with 87 public and private schools in 36 Pennsylvania counties. We also supported 473 child care and community-based youth organizations with free or nearly free shared resources, positively impacting another 44,190 children statewide.

Our programs include: child care and preschool, after-school programs, tutoring, SAT prep, school staffing, alternative education programs for at-risk students, online learning, credit recovery, drug and alcohol prevention programs, and grant writing and project consulting for schools.

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8 hours ago
Ready to make a difference in young lives? We are hiring a Child Care Assistant to work at our Center for Children in Richland. Benefits include training, development, career advancement opportunities, and more! EARN A DEGREE FOR FREE! Candidates must have a high school diploma, previous experience working with children, and the ability to pass clearances. Apply online today at http://tiny.cc/4v3avz 

#thelearninglamp #johnstownpa #nowhiring #hiringnow #jobopening