United In Care
Getting New Jersey Back To Work
Safe, Reliable Child Care For Working Parents
It’s the largest stumbling block for getting the state’s economy back on track from the pandemic: safe, reliable, affordable, and quality child care. Without it, parents cannot return to work. Without it, business does not have a steady workforce. Without it, the children of low-income workers — who live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford pandemic pods — are at risk.
A Troubled Industry
What if a new model in child care could address not only the immediate need, but the underlying inequities that plagued the industry even before the coronavirus pandemic hit? New Jersey was already facing a crisis in access and affordability. Add to that the COVID-19 social distancing requirements that have restricted child care centers to half-occupancy, drastically reducing their revenues and capacity. Plus, there are the added expenses for personal protective equipment and increased staffing to manage the new protocols. Meanwhile, ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) workers, who earn too little to afford quality care and too much to qualify for government subsidies, have been forced to make impossible choices that jeopardize their health and economic stability and their children’s future.
Vision For A Sustainable Future
United In Care, led by United Way of Northern New Jersey, has a vision for reimagining the local child care landscape and building a sustainable infrastructure for the future. During the course of a three-year pilot program, highly rated child care centers in North, Central and South Jersey will be paired with local neighborhood family providers to expand capacity and leverage expertise and resources. United Way will serve to connect the various partners, including small and minority-owned businesses, state-supported referral agencies, leading child care experts, and data analytic wizards who will chart the project’s progress.
Philanthropy Driving Innovation
With the backing and collaboration of formidable philanthropic organizations, including the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, Overdeck Family Foundation, David Tepper Charitable Foundation Inc. and New Jersey Health Initiatives, the goal is to develop a pilot that can be replicated across the state and country. United In Care seeks like-minded philanthropists interested in joining the collaboration. Contact Theresa.Leamy@UnitedWayNNJ.org