Eric Cutler Eric Cutler
Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, TOOTRiS


June 28, 2024


The Child Care crisis in America is a multifaceted issue that demands comprehensive solutions. While some may hope that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be a potential savior, AI alone cannot address the fundamental challenges facing working parents. Instead, we need innovative and robust public-private partnerships that leverage technology to make Child Care more accessible and affordable. Examining the benefits of Child Care support and the experiences of key industry leaders, reveals significant returns on investment through higher productivity, better retention, improved recruitment, and a positive economic impact on communities.

While AI has made remarkable strides in various fields, offering advanced productivity solutions, it cannot replicate the complex and essential human interactions, emotional intelligence, and personalized attention involved in Child Care. AI can support administrative tasks and provide supplementary educational content, however, the development of young children requires nurturing, empathy, and adaptability, which are innate human qualities.

Instead, we need to enhance the existing Child Care framework through innovative private-public partnerships that harness technology and foster collaboration to create a supportive environment for working parents.Public-private partnerships offer a sustainable model to address the Child Care crisis. By combining resources, expertise, and innovative solutions, these partnerships can create a more accessible and affordable Child Care system. One partnership pathway is through support of Employer-Sponsored Child Care Benefits.

The Benefits of Child Care Benefits

According to a report from BCG and Moms First, Child Care Benefits are a smart investment, yielding an ROI up to 425%. They strengthen financials and culture through:  

  • Increased Productivity:88% of employers agree Child Care Benefits boost productivity. It also reduces up to 16 absences each year. When employers offer reliable Child Care solutions, employees can focus more on their work, knowing their children are in safe hands. This reduction in stress and distraction leads to increased concentration, efficiency, and overall productivity.
  • Higher Retention Rates:Up to 86% of working parents are more likely to stay with employers who offer Child Care Benefits. Child Care Benefits foster employee loyalty and reduce turnover rates, which is crucial for maintaining a stable workforce and avoiding the high costs of hiring and training new staff.
  • Enhanced Recruitment:90% of employers say Child Care Benefits boost talent recruitment and retention – as much as paid time off and health insurance. In a competitive job market, offering Child Care Benefits can be a decisive factor in attracting and retaining top talent, particularly those with young families, as it signals a company's commitment to supporting work-life balance and employee well-being.
  • Career Advancement:Up to 78% of working parents report positive career impacts when provided Child Care support. Moreover, 56% of part-time or non-working parents, especially women, would return to full-time work if they had access to affordable, reliable, and quality Child Care. This enables career advancement, leading to increased household incomes and economic stability.

The Case for Child Care Benefits and Incentives

By incentivizing companies to offer Child Care Benefits, government agencies and employers can work together to eliminate Child Care as a barrier to personal and economic growth. Here is how two companies are providing Child Care solutions:

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing: Driving Retention with Child Care

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing’s Child Care initiative provides employees a $250-a-month stipend and access to Child Care options through TOOTRiS. It has led to a noticeable improvement in employee attraction and retention, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and enhanced reputation. Over the first year it was offered, attrition dropped by 11% overall and 20% among women.

Dow Chemical: Fostering Diversity and Inclusion through Child Care

Dow prioritizes supporting its diverse workforce by integrating a comprehensive digital platform into their Child Care Benefits program. Dow’s caregiving benefits include a Child Care subsidy for eligible employees, financial assistance for work-related emergency care, one-on-one support to help locate Child Care, and flexible working arrangements, creating a supportive, thriving, and inclusive work environment.  By providing accessible Child Care resources, Dow not only promotes employee well-being but also enhances diversity and inclusion within its workforce.

Technology is Key to Efficient Public-Private Child Care Support

Artificial Intelligence, while powerful and transformative in many areas, is not the panacea for the Child Care crisis, however, advanced technology is essential to unifying all the key stakeholders in the industry (parents, providers, employers, and agencies).

By leveraging technology, companies can create a more supportive work environment that promotes employee well-being and satisfaction. The economic impact of these initiatives extends beyond the workplace, contributing to local economic growth and stability by supporting Child Care providers and fostering innovation within the community. As we continue to navigate the complexities of modern work-life balance, the integration of advanced technology into public-private Child Care support programs remains a critical component in building a more inclusive, productive, and resilient workforce.

About the authors

Eric Cutler

Eric Cutler

Eric Cutler is senior director of strategic initiatives at TOOTRiS, the first and only child care technology platform built for business.