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Investing in the child care industry: An economic development strategy for Kansas

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Mid-America Regional Council
Publication Date: 
1 Mar 2003

Available in print for order (see SOURCE) and online for download.

Excerpt from executive summary:

Child care is more than sandboxes and finger paint ­ it's a vital, almost $500 million industry, an engine for economic health and development. It's an industry with muliple benefits that ripple throughout the economy, investments in child care have significant returns, now and in the future. Strengthening the child care industry can ­ and should ­ be a cornerstone of Kansas' economic development strategy.

The public funds that Kansas spends on child care help draw new federal funds into the state. Like the economic activity generated by new businesses, federal child care funds ripple through the economy, increasing economic activity through employment and the purchase of goods and services Kansas businesses.

The majority of Kansas parents seek care and education for their young children through a variety of non-profit, for-profit and family providers.

While not typically viewed as such, these providers comprise a rapidly growing industry that contributes a significant amount of economy activity: creating jobs, generating tax dollars, and pumping money into local economies through the purchased of goods and services.

Just as roads, airports and bridges enable people to get to work and businesses to get their supplies, child care allows parents to go to work.

Economic development experts are clear: in order to grow the economy, Kansas needs skilled, educated employees. Policy makers can enhance the current economy by supporting the state's employers and the workforce that is so crucial to their success. Child care is a key part of that effort.