Parents & Families

Strategies that help parents balance work, career advancement and child rearing will help to reduce poverty among working age adults and their children.

  • Expand affordable, quality daycare options that enable parents to work more, or better hours.
  • Create and expand opportunities for small, family-run businesses in high-need neighborhoods and communities.
  • Why This Strategy Matters

    Insights from residents show that parents are concerned over the cost of childcare, as well as the quality of care available. According to research by ChildCare Aware of America, single parents in New York State paid an estimated 56% of their income on center-based childcare, or 41% of income for home-based childcare in 2017. These high costs force some parents to make a hard choice between working full time and paying for costly childcare they might not entirely trust, or working part time, or not at all, to care for their children at home. By expanding affordable childcare options, parents, especially single parents, will have a better opportunity to work, giving them additional money that can be spent on food, clothing, and housing for their children.

  • Potential Action Steps

    Increase awareness of existing programs that provide family leave or financial assistance to parents for childcare.

    Foster stronger partnerships between employers and childcare providers to find ways to provide affordable, quality childcare for employees.

    Advocate for policy changes that would guarantee affordable or free quality childcare for all residents regardless of income or employment status (whether full or part time).

    Identify and fill in gaps in areas across the region where there are child care deserts where parents lack access to high quality, affordable child care close to where they live and work.

  • Potential actors in the Community

    Elected officials and policymakers
    Childcare providers
    Head Start programs

Models to Consider

  • Quebec Parental Insurance Plan

    Quebec, Canada

    In 1997, the Canadian province of Quebec launched politique familiale (family policy) which, in addition to extensive paid family leave for the birth or adoption of a child and a yearly monetary allowance for families with children, provided subsidized child care to all children under six years old. The policy provides subsidized child care to families with a sliding scale based on income. Many children attend centres de la petite enfance (CPEs), non-profit, publicly subsidized child care centers. Due to high demand, CPEs often have waiting lists, so the government provides a tax credit to reimburse families for up to 75 percent of their childcare costs at privately run child care facilities. Between 1997 and 2016, Quebec saw a 16 percentage point increase in the employment rate for mothers of children under age six, while other provinces without similar programs saw a mere 4 percentage point increase. The program costs Quebec approximately $2 billion each year. While that is a large sum, one study estimates that the increase in Quebec's GDP due to the job growth for mothers with young children is about $3.9 billion.
  • Jeremiah Program

    Minneapolis, MN and various locations across the U.S.

    Over the last 20 years, Minneapolis-based Jeremiah Program has improved the lives of 3,600 single mothers and their children through a holistic approach that supports women through a career-track college education. The organization has campuses in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Rochester, MN, as well as Austin, TX, Fargo, ND, Boston, MA, and New York City. Low income single mothers enter the program with the determination to better both their own and their children's lives by pursuing a college education. Jeremiah Program provides these mothers and children with safe, affordable housing, quality early childhood education and childcare, and life skills training in financial literacy, physical and emotional health, and positive parenting. This strategy cuts the cycle of poverty short by supporting the long-term financial well-being of single mothers, improving education, health, and financial outcomes of their children in the process. Jeremiah Program graduates show increases in income, a decreased reliance on social assistance programs, and improved educational outcomes for their children. Jeremiah Program is funded primarily through grants and contributions, in addition to events, investments, rental income, child care services, and other support.
  • Why This Strategy Matters

    Residents of some focus groups felt it was impossible to start their own business because of barriers like startup costs, poor or non-existent credit, or an inadequate understanding of how to start and operate a business. Nevertheless, some residents expressed a desire to start their own business, knowing that doing so would enable them to have more control over their own financial future. Small, family-owned businesses allow residents to earn money to meet household needs while also creating future opportunities for a younger generation to learn about business and potentially take over as their parent’s age out of ownership. Neighborhoods also benefit from investments by small businesses in physical space and in the creation of additional jobs. In cases of retail, residents near small, family-run businesses benefit from additional shopping options.

  • Potential Action Steps

    Increase awareness of existing programs that offer business training, grants, and low-cost business loans.

    Collaborate with local business leaders, chambers of commerce, financial institutions, and elected officials to identify opportunities to facilitate small business creation through training and funding programs.

    Work with non-profit organizations in the community to create a shared, affordable physical space where small businesses can run operations until they are stable enough to move into their own location.

    Create affordable training programs for residents interested in learning about starting a small business, in partnership with colleges, universities, and other job trainers in the region.

    Facilitate the connection between funding sources for small businesses and residents interested in beginning a small business.

    Consider how small business creation can leverage community strengths and assets or address gaps in services.

    Unite and grow small businesses through business districts and/or a startup incubator.

  • Potential actors in the Community

    Non-profit organizations
    Colleges and universities
    Workforce trainers
    Financial institutions
    Small business incubators
    Elected officials
    Chamber of commerce

Models to Consider

  • Westminster Economic Development Initiative: West Side Bazaar

    Buffalo, NY

    The Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) is a community organization on Buffalo's West side that assists refugees and immigrants in their transition with counseling services, educational programs, and financial support. WEDI launched the West Side Bazaar in 2011 as a business incubator for immigrant entrepreneurs. The Bazaar provides entrepreneurs with subsidized rent, training workshops, business plan development, one-on-one coaching from business advisors, and marketing services. The Bazaar eventually hosted 21 separate businesses, 15 of which have since moved on to their own spaces. The successes of these entrepreneurs have reopened incubator spaces for new businesses in the Bazaar. The Bazaar is now an established part of the community and serves as a cultural and economic anchor for Buffalo's West Side. In 2019, WEDI announced that the West Side Bazaar would move to a new location with three times the current space, with plans to open by spring 2021.

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