RELEASE: Nearly 6 in 10 Parents Will Make Career Sacrifices for Child Care Needs This Summer

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new issue brief looking at how a lack of access to affordable child care during the summer months is undercutting parents’ ability to earn an income and stay in the workforce. The brief includes new survey data looking at how many parents are struggling to find summer child care, the key barriers to finding a suitable arrangement, and what sacrifices parents are making to provide summer child care. Key findings from the survey include:

  • Three in 4 parents report having some difficulty finding summer child care.
  • More than half of respondents reported that paying for care is a significant challenge.
  • Most families surveyed—57 percent—have at least one parent planning to make a career sacrifice that will result in reduced income. This includes cutting back on the number of hours or days worked, taking unpaid leave, or leaving the workforce to provide child care.
  • Despite starting their search for summer child care early, 1 in 4 families do not have child care arrangements that fully meet their needs for the summer.

“Our nation’s lack of child care options during the summer months is not just straining families’ finances—it’s limiting many parents’ ability to earn a living or forcing them out of the workforce altogether,” said Cristina Novoa, senior policy analyst for Early Childhood Policy at CAP. “This survey is a warning to lawmakers that ignoring parents’ challenges in finding and affording summer child care poses a real threat to our economy.”

Summer child care programs play a crucial role in curbing learning loss during the summer months, especially for students from low-income families and families of color. A CAP 50-state analysis from last year found that the typical family currently spends 20 percent of the income they’ll earn during the summer for just five weeks of summer child care programming and that the greatest affordability challenges are in states with large Latinx populations.

Please click here to read “When Parents Can’t Find Summer Child Care, Their Work Suffers” by Cristina Novoa.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202.741.6292.