Maxwell X Lab
The Child Care Landscape in Onondaga County: A Supply & Demand Analysis
- Partners: Early Childhood Alliance (ECA), Child Care Solutions, Onondaga County Department of Social Services Economic Security, and the R/E/D Group
- Method: Supply and demand analysis
- Outcome: The current supply of child care in Onondaga County is not sufficient to meet the demand. There is a large gap between those eligible for and those receiving child care subsidies.
The Early Childhood Alliance (ECA), Child Care Solutions, and Onondaga County Department of Social Services commissioned Maxwell X Lab and the R/E/D Group to use quantitative and qualitative methods to assess gaps to childcare access in Onondaga County. The X Lab calculated gaps in access by comparing the supply: the capacity of licensed child care providers, universal pre-K slots, and legally exempt subsidized care, against demand: the number of children living in households with all parents in the workforce. Data from multiple sources including Child Care Solutions, Onondaga County DSS-ES, and the Onondaga County school districts was used in concordance with publicly available data, such as the 5-Year American Communities Survey from the US Census, to accurately develop quantitative models. Focus groups, comprised of parents and providers in Onondaga County, were conducted by the R/E/D group to provide context and more nuance to the quantitative findings.
The data shows that Onondaga County does not have enough childcare availability to meet current or potential demand. There is also a large gap between those who are eligible for and receiving child care subsidies. The qualitative findings suggest that families are not accessing adequate care for their children because it is too expensive and does not fit their work schedule. This problem is exacerbated by a lack of available childcare during nontraditional hours in the day.
While policy changes aim to address affordability, investment is needed to meet rising demand and ensure access to high-quality child care for all families. Sustained state and federal funding are crucial for lasting progress in the child care system.