Raising WYCO is a committed group of early education, community, and business leaders tasked with identifying feasible and sustainable solutions for improving child care access in Wyandotte County, Kansas, in partnership with a broad coalition of community stakeholders. When Raising WYCO began, the group identified interdependent three areas of focus: community education and engagement, early childhood policy, and early childhood workforce.
Our first task was to understand the child care landscape in Wyandotte County, including barriers to accessing affordable, quality child care. Next, we began a community education campaign about how everyone benefits when families have access to quality child care. Finally, we began to engage the local business community, which is essential to the future of child care access in Kansas.
The Workforce Connection
The past three years have highlighted the fact that child care is foundational to the health and stability of the economy. Our economic strength relies on businesses, businesses rely on employees, and employees with young children rely on child care. Without child care, working families cannot fully and adequately participate in the workforce, which negatively impacts the economy and our local business sector’s bottom line.
The child care sector is significantly underfunded, and the business model is broken. Thus, employers are facing a workforce shortage due to the lack of affordable, quality child care options for families.
Child care is a complex issue, requiring a multi-faceted approach. But there is one unavoidable fact: we can’t solve the child care crisis without business engagement.
To start moving the needle, the paradigm needs to shift so that the child care crisis is no longer considered a family’s private problem to solve. Collectively, we need to begin viewing it through the lens of all stakeholders that benefit from having a safe, affordable place for kids to go while their parents work.
Ultimately, when working families have reliable, quality, affordable child care, everyone wins — including employers, working parents, and kids (the vast majority of whom will be members of the future workforce).
The Child Care Tax Credit
Raising WYCO set out to understand how the Kansas child care tax credit worked — and how businesses of all sizes could make investments to reap the benefits of the credit. Initially, when the revised tax credit was unveiled, we found that we had more questions than answers.
To help us understand the tax credit more fully — and how a business would use the tax credit — we engaged the professional advisory firm CBIZ. Together, we created the Kansas Employer Child Care Tax Credit Toolkit.
The toolkit simplifies the tax credit process and provides examples of how a business would use the tax credit. It also offers additional information about why tax credits are beneficial to employers and why the credits matter.
We have made the toolkit and the accompanying tax calculator public, both which can be found on the Raising WYCO website. The calculator takes into account the type of investment a business might make, as well as the amount they plan to invest, and calculates what their Kansas and federal tax credits could be.
The Importance of Child Care Benefits
Investing in child care benefits for employees can help businesses achieve the following goals:
Productivity enhancement: With access to dependable child care, employees can concentrate more fully on their work, leading to increased productivity. Reduced distractions and fewer worries about child care arrangements translate into a more focused and efficient workforce.
Retaining female leadership: Many working mothers — who often hold high-level positions or are climbing the leadership ladder — may make the difficult decision to leave their careers if affordable, quality care isn’t available for their children. Employer-sponsored child care can retain these valuable female leaders, preventing a talent drain and maintaining gender diversity in leadership roles.
Improved morale and job satisfaction: Child care benefits contribute to a healthier work-life balance for employees, enabling them to juggle their professional duties and family commitments more effectively. This equilibrium boosts morale, reduces absenteeism, and enhances overall job satisfaction.
Talent management: Employer-sponsored child care is a powerful tool for talent management. It not only attracts top talent, but also fosters loyalty among existing employees. By investing in their employees’ child care needs, organizations can build a reputation as an employer that values its workforce.
We hope that this has piqued your interest in the Kansas Employer Child Care Tax Credit and that you will explore the toolkit and calculator to help benefit families in your community.
Free toolkit and calculator for employers
Check out the Kansas Employer Child Care Tax Credit Toolkit and the accompanying calculator at raisingwyco.org/take-action.