10-25-2020 Women to Watch - Flipbook - Page 40
Dr. Katie Shaw drops off her daughter, Clara, 3, at the Weinberg
Early Childhood Center in East Baltimore. PHOTO BY JERRY JACKSON
care subsidy program were doubled to $71,525 for
a family of four. Earlier this year, the legislature
passed the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which
would provide universal pre-k for 4-year-olds.
Hogan vetoed the costly bill on May 7; Ebersole
said lawmakers will attempt to override the veto
when the legislature reconvenes in January.
When it became apparent that most Maryland
public schools would remain closed this fall, several counties responded by creating “RecZones” or
“learning hubs” where students can study online in
small groups supervised by a proctor. Though the
effort is laudable, Ebersole said, the centers are at
best a stopgap with room for just a fraction of the
children who need it.
Though the child care crisis has had a measurable nancial impact on business — the Maryland
Family Network estimates that employee absence
and turnover cost local companies $2.41 billion in
2016 — corporations have been slow to ll the void.
Slightly more than half of companies nationwide offer some type of child care assistance to
workers, according to a 2017 national study of employers conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management — and when they do, it’s likely
WO M E N T O WAT C H
a child care referral service (41% of U.S. businesses)
or exible spending accounts that allow workers
pay for child care with pre-tax dollars (56%).
Just a handful of corporations provide employees with vouchers to pay for child care (2%) or operate workplace day care centers (7%).
Among the rare exceptions is the Johns Hopkins
University, which provides a suite of child care benets that include three day care centers on campus,
child care vouchers of up to $5,000 a year, a scholarship program and an emergency caregiver fund.
What’s more, high-wage employees earning up to
$175,000 a year qualify for some benets. (Johns
Hopkins Hospital offers a similar package to its staff
members, a spokeswoman said.)
The vouchers help but don’t pay the full bill for
most employees; the university’s day care centers
cost $2,000 a month for infants and $1,500 a month
for older children, a spokeswoman said.
“The university has invested tens of millions of
dollars to support its employees’ child care needs,”
said Heidi Conway, the university’s vice president
for human resources.
“This is a difcult time, and exibility and compassion are what’s needed at this moment.”
The U.S. lags behind other top-performing countries in providing government support for families. At least, that’s the conclusion of the Kirwan
Commission, the blue-ribbon panel whose recommendations are the basis of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. The report cited these examples:
Singapore provides a “baby bonus” that’s equivalent to about $5,800 for each of a family’s rst two
children, and $7,350 for each additional child. A
Child Development Account can be used to pay for
child care and educational expenses. The government deposits the equivalent of $2,200 in the account at birth and up to $2,200 in matching contributions for each successive year.
Finland provides the equivalent of a $118.50
monthly allowance for each child through age 17,
with a monthly supplement for single parents
of $63 per child. Shared parental leave of up to 9
months is also offered at 70% of full salary.
Ontario, Canada: Full-day preschool is free for
children aged 2.5 years to 5.