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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

MO loses $1.35 billion annually due to child care issues

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Monday, October 2, 2023   

Among Missouri parents surveyed, 30% reported they have limited their working hours or stopped altogether because of unreliable child care.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce said child care issues pose a $1.35 billion hit to the state economy every year.

Robin Phillips, CEO of Child Care Aware of Missouri, said in addition to higher operating costs for food, rent, and utilities, it is difficult for child care providers to pay their staff livable wages, despite getting some federal help.

"There are great and significant investments happening, and we still have a lot of work to do," Phillips explained. "Because two years, three years of federal relief money doesn't fix 40-plus years of fragmentation."

Childcare Aware found the median wage for child care educators in Missouri has increased to $17.50 an hour this year, up from just over $10 in 2017.

Missouri ranks 28th overall for child well-being, according to the most recent Kids Count data. The report showed "child care deserts" have almost doubled since before the pandemic. Inaccessible -- and often unaffordable -- child care pushes parents to the financial breaking point.

Tracy Greever-Rice, Kids Count program director for the Missouri Family and Community Trust, said many areas need good short-term and long-term solutions.

"Attentiveness to these issues will make a big difference," Greever-Rice contended. "And prevention is not just good for individuals, but also more efficient and less expensive of a way to do public policy."

On average, Missourians pay $8,900 a year for center-based care for a toddler, which equates to around 22% of a single mother's income, and 7% for a married couple.

Disclosure: Missouri Kids Count contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Poverty Issues, and Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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