Letter: Child care is an economic necessity for many Utah families and provides important social benefits

(Sarahbeth Maney | ProPublica) Aleatha Child holds a 7-month-old child at her home day care in Brigham City.

As a parent of two young children, the article in The Tribune on the Utah Legislature’s actions on child care — or lack thereof — hits close to home. It is especially poignant for me as just this week our family was informed that our son’s day care would be unexpectedly closing at the end of January.

The fear and uncertainty that come with a loss of child care are difficult to convey to those who do not rely on it. For our family and so many others with two working parents, losing child care, even temporarily, means tough decisions on when, how, and if we can afford to work. The repercussions include not just lost income, but also loss of insurance and retirement benefits, career advancement opportunities, and personal time needed for appointments, projects and personal care.

Child care’s advantages for children should also not be understated. Far from Rep. Mark Strong’s suggestion that sending children to day care amounts to “farming” them out, we routinely see its benefits for our kids, as it provides the diverse curriculum, socialization with peers, and expertise in child development that my wife and I simply cannot offer. With our day care closing, we also mourn the loss of employment for its teachers and staff, whose patience, compassion, and genuine care has helped make our children into the wonderful human beings they already are.

In today’s age of inflation and inequality, child care is a frank economic necessity for many families. Even beyond dollars and cents, child care provides important social benefits. I encourage our legislators to walk a mile in the shoes of parents today and explore meaningful ways to make child care more affordable and accessible.

Daniel Reich, Salt Lake City

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