A Deep Dive into the Child Care Shortage

Northspan contributed data to an April 7 Duluth News Tribune article that delved into the complexities of the regional child care shortage. The article focused on the shortage in Carlton County while exploring dynamics at work throughout the Northland.

At present, every county in northeast Minnesota is facing deficits in child care slots, according to child care availability data from July 2020 to April 2021. Carlton County had 1,057 child care slots during that time frame but needed another 525. With demand on the rise, the article estimates that currently there is a need to fill an estimated 700 slots.

The article explores the many factors which combine to make the child care shortage an especially difficult problem to solve. These range from rising inflation and employee shortages to the loss of family care providers and affordability for families. “The effects of not having enough child care slots in a community reverberate,” notes the article.

“We’re hearing from lots of employers that they can’t find enough workers, and when they talk to potential workers or people that leave the jobs, they’re hearing that it’s because of lack of child care,” said Elizabeth Davis, a professor of applied economics at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities quoted in the article.

The article also cites a number of resources for both child care providers and families, including several funding sources: 

  • Minnesota State Child Care Stabilization Grant (for child care providers)
  • Minnesota State Child Care Assistance Program (for families seeking child care)
  • Northland Foundation Early Learning Scholarships (for families seeking child care)
  • Potential allocation of American Rescue Plan funds 

You can read the full Duluth News Tribune article here: How the childcare shortfall affects Carlton County and what local officials are doing to address it

For up-to-the minute data related to regional child care demand, contact Northspan Associate Consultant and Operations Manager Amanda Vuicich at avuicich@northspan.org