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Women leaving the workforce to care for children at home

Posted at 8:25 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 20:25:51-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Kenmore mother of two says she had to make the hardest decision of her life, to leave her job to take care of her kids after rising childcare costs and remote learning made it impossible for her to stay working.

“It would have been silly for me to put them in a program, because I would have been working just to pay for that program,” she said.

With kids primarily learning from home, coupled with the lack of childcare options and expense, experts say we will likely see more and more women having to make difficult decisions for their families.

“In September alone, the data shows 856,000 women left the workforce,” said Sheri Scavone, the Executive Direction of the Western New York Women’s Foundation.

According to the foundation, nearly 25,000 women are the single parent caretaker of their home in Erie County.

“It’s not all about money here. It’s being confident that you’re making the right decisions for your family,” said Andrea Augustyn.

Augustyn says she just learned of a 30% increase in tuition at her 4 year-old’s daycare center.

“She was supposed to be in preschool five days a week,” she said.

For single parents like Rhiannon Park, even when she was paying for daycare at the cost of $1,600 a month for her four kids, she says her kids weren’t getting the schooling they needed to keep up with remote learning.

“We get e-mails from teachers saying this one is not on their class this day this one didn’t make it on their zoom,” she said.

Park says daycares aren’t set up for the attention the online education is requiring. Her children now go to one of Erie county’s virtual learning centers—but that grant money runs out at the end of this month.

“Women are losing a generation of progress in the workforce,” Scavone said. “Look at the majority of our frontline workers. They are women. If we’re taking them out of the workforce, where does that leave us as a society?”

Scavone says the best thing you can do is have an open and honest conversation with your employer regarding childcare needs.