Child Care News Post

Published: 10/27/2022 - 8:00 AM

Greater Philadelphia YMCA Advocates for Wider, Easier Access to Solve State Child Care Shortage

Greater Philadelphia YMCA President & CEO Shaun Elliott joined child care providers from across the state Tuesday in testimony before the PA House Children and Youth Committee, advocating for reforms to address the state’s looming child care shortage.

Elliott, as President & CEO of the nation’s 7th largest YMCA Association, is also Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Alliance of YMCA’s who collectively represent the largest child care providing organization in the state. Elliott made the case for three key areas of reform: simplifying requirements for child care employment that currently limit the applicant pool; increased and sustained funding to help make wages more competitive; and a streamlining of the application process, which currently keeps many PA families from accessing crucial programs.

“Earlier this year, Start Strong PA completed a Child Care Staffing Crisis survey. Ninety-one percent (91%) of responding providers indicated that they face a child care staffing crisis. The results are alarming. Providers had thousands of open staff positions resulting in the closing of two thousand classrooms. If these classrooms were fully open, the survey indicated that tens of thousands of children could be served. The waiting list statewide was in excess of tens of thousands of children. This data is alarming and will continue to pose an economic threat to families, communities and the entire Commonwealth”, Elliott told lawmakers.

Elliott also shared stories from two families served by YMCA child care, detailing their challenges in accessing care, and navigating the state system.

“I can’t help but feel that this tangled system is undermining its own stated intentions.… It is challenging enough to navigate that it debilitates access for those who need it most”, says Morgan Rakay.

“We have been amazed to see the leaps and gains my daughter has made in reading, writing, and math in just a few short weeks in pre-K. However, the people who supported her are not being paid in a way that illustrates the incredible value they lend”, wrote Alyssa Schatz of Mt. Airy.

Elliott also thanked the committee for its work in rewriting certification regulations so far, and for being responsive to the needs of child care providers in the process. Furthermore, he urged lawmakers to support the state’s working families through expanding and ensuring continued access to child care.

The testimony was live streamed for public access, and can be viewed here:

Testimony Recording