Child Care for Working Families
New Hampshire's child care system is in crisis. Child care is not affordable for most families, and the industry is struggling to recruit and retain employees due to low wages and high operational costs.
We MUST do better for New Hampshire's families, businesses, economy, and childcare workforce.
The Child Care for NH Working Families Act (SB 237) supports New Hampshire's child care system. It keeps families working, children healthy and the economy thriving.
The Senate voted unanimously to support SB 237! This is another victory in our efforts to increase child care accessibility in New Hampshire.
Next, SB 237 will move on to the Senate Finance Commitee for review.
- Email your state senator to THANK THEM for supporting the bill (and remind them why child care is important to you)!
Help us work to improve New Hampshire's child care system
Has your family struggled to find affordable child care? Are you a center director finding it difficult to retain staff? Are you a member of the workforce who has to work a second job to make ends meet? If this is your story or you have a similar experience, lawmakers need to hear from you. Your experiences will make all the difference as we work to improve child care in New Hampshire. Ways you can help:
Over 20 early childhood educators, child care center directors, parents, and advocates testified in support of SB 237 during the Senate Health & Human Services Committee hearing on February 15th.
Watch the recording:
Child Care for Working Families Info Sheet (.pdf)
Child Care for Working Families Info Sheet (web viewer)
- The average cost of child care for an infant in New Hampshire is $14,425, which consumes 37% of a single parent's income and 11% of a two-parent household that earns $120,000 annually. Child care is considered affordable when it consumes no more than 7% of a household's income (US. Department of Health & Human Services).
- Without reliable child care, it is difficult for parents or caregivers to participate in the workforce.
- Low-income families struggle to secure child care due to high costs, which negatively impacts employment opportunities, increases absenteeism, and increases family financial stress.
- 54,019 children under 6 in New Hampshire need child care, but there are only 32,884 available slots in licensed child care facilities statewide - leaving a gap of 21,135 children who may not have access to child care.
- 42 licensed facilities have closed in N.H. since 2019, eliminating 1,459 slots for children.
- Centers have closed facilities or rooms due to staffing shortages, and the rising costs associated with operating a facility such as insurance, utilities, property taxes, maintenance, supplies, and food.
- Access to child care also reduces parental stress and maternal depression, which are risk factors for child abuse, neglect and other risk behaviors associated with adverse childhood experiences.
Women in the Workforce
- 75.8 percent of women ages 25-34 currently participate in New Hampshire's workforce - a decline of nearly 10% since the start of the pandemic.
- If a family cannot find child care, women are often the ones to leave the workforce.
- New Hampshire’s businesses suffer from a reduced pool of qualified workers and the ripple effects of decreased consumer spending and higher employee turnover rates.
- Increasing the labor force participation rate of women by just 1.3 percent (10,000) would add over $1 billion to New Hampshire's gross domestic product by 2031.
The Child Care Workforce
- The average annual salary for a child care worker in New Hampshire is $24,490, which amounts to less than $12 per hour.
- The child care system is not subsidized and therefore the industry struggles to recruit and retain employees due to low wages.
- Unlike other professions, few pathways to education, training, and advancement exist for child care professionals.
Opinion: Better childcare yields economic growth (Union Leader, 3/14/23)
Paul L Dann, PhD, executive director of NFI North describes how employee vacancies caused in-part by a lack of affordable child care, result in a long waitlist for the behavioral health services that NFI North provides.
Opinion: Strengthening childcare strengthens families (Union Leader, 3/13/23)
Leslie Ela, a care coordinator with the Care Coordination Program of New Hampshire (CCP-NH), writes about how a lack of child care affects the military families she works with - and her own family.
Letter: Support SB 237 (Carriage Towne News, 3/6/23)
Kristen Grady, a working parent of twins, explains her family's struggles with child care and how SB 237 would improve access to child care for families like hers.
Letter: Support the Child Care for NH Working Families Act (Eagle Times, 2/28/23)
Kerry McKeen of Charlestown writes about her experiences in early childhood education and how SB 237 would make a difference.
NH Business: Major proposal to help solve New Hampshire’s child care, workforce dilemma sits in state Senate (WMUR, 2/26/23)
Host Fred Kocher is joined by Jackie Cowell and Will Stewart to discuss what is being done to provide more child care resources to NH.
Opinion: For the sake of working families, New Hampshire must make child care investments (NH Bulletin, 2/20/23)
Rebecca Woitkowski and Lindsay Hanson showcase the importance of the Child Care for New Hampshire Working Families Act (SB 237).
Concord Monitor: Bill proposes support for childcare for both parents and providers (2/15/23)
On any given day at the Waypoint Children’s Place and Education Center, Kelly Bozetarnik wears many different hats. Her formal role is the director. But most days at the child care center off of Loudon Road, she is a director, a teacher, an assistant and even the chef, making breakfast and lunch for children enrolled.
NPR Planet Money: Baby's First Market Failure (aired 2/3/23)
Planet Money breaks down the economics of why child care waitlists are long and the staff is underpaid.
Business Perspective: Child care central to success of NH businesses (Union Leader, 1/15/23)
New Futures' Michele Merritt and Rebecca Woitkowski discuss how affordable and accessible child care benefits New Hampshire's businesses.