The research is clear that there is a strong need for non-traditional hour child care. Pennsylvania child care regulations define non-traditional hour child care as care provided to children whose parent/caretaker work on Saturday, Sunday, or between the hours of 6 PM and 6 AM.
One in three families with young children in Pennsylvania needs care on weekends and evenings to go to work, which is consistent with national estimates. Yet only one in four regulated child care providers offer the after-hour care that families need and only 13% of all subsidized seats are for non-traditional hour child care. Research for Action (RFA), a nonprofit education research organization, found that there is only one child care slot available for every three families that need it in Pennsylvania. The result is that families must scramble to find the care they need, leave their jobs, or refuse job offers.
This brief expands upon the current research by taking a closer look at the ways in which employers have been affected by the economic consequences of the COVID pandemic and the instability of the child care industry. Feedback from a sample of 54 businesses across Pennsylvania and two in-depth interviews with business leaders highlight the need for more policy solutions to the non-traditional hour child care crisis.