I’ve spent my entire professional journalism career covering K-12 education, but during those nearly four years only occasionally has my work brushed against the topic of child care. One of these encounters occurred earlier this year, when I wrote about the impact of sequestration on local Head Start programming.
Those stories are part of the reason why, when my colleagues and I began developing our roles for the Stronger Together project, I gravitated toward the issue of affordable child care.
During my childhood, I logged countless hours in numerous day-care settings. In fact, my parents made the decision to send me to private kindergarten in part because they needed a full-day supervision option because they both worked full-time.
Even with that experience, the world of child care is still largely unknown territory for me. I don’t have children and until two months ago, when I began speaking with parents and providers throughout the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids Corridor, I was unaware of just how vital day-care options are for families and the struggles parents face when it comes to finding affordable alternatives.
I’m in the process of collecting data as well as personal narratives about how much it costs to provide and enroll in quality child care as well as the largely unseen obstacles – such as scheduling and transportation – that occur once a family finds a suitable day-care program.
I admit that I’m coming to this topic largely as an outsider, and for a project that is so focused on the way the community experiences and responds to adversity, I know your voices are crucial to Stronger Together.
With that in mind, please reach out to me on Twitter (@MissFluker) or via email (email@example.com) with your stories, questions and suggestions. In the meantime, my colleagues and I will be adding pieces of information and observations to this web space as the project evolves.