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Lack of child care costing Elkhart County economy almost $100 M annually

ELKHART, Ind.- The lack of available and affordable child care is putting a dent into Elkhart Count'ys economy.

A new study by Indiana University Public Policy Institute released Tuesday shows the county is losing close to 100 million dollars each year because of that problem.

The study examined the economic impact of lack of access to child care to three rural and three urban counties in Indiana. 

The direct impact to Elkhart's economy surpassed every rural and urban county except for one.

Robert Weed Corporation employee, Natalie Hart, said the biggest driving force to turn these numbers down is to start with businesses.

"Maybe one out of three individuals that we bring in the door are calling off because of child care issues. Then they end of losing their jobs because they can’t maintain their attendance here.”

For a single parent making the Indiana median income of 26,000 dollars, the would spend nearly half of their income on child care for a toddler. It's a common occurrence that Hart said she sees too often.

“We have a lost a few people because of child care and I hate that we’ve had to and unfortunately that’s the nature of the beast.”

To stay one step ahead, they partnered up with Growing Kids Learning Center, the only high quality child care service provider in Elkhart County. 

Hart said lack of childcare is one of the top reasons for lack of attendance at the Robert Wood Corporation. 

The only way to put a dent on this problem, Hart said, is for businesses to provide resources to their employees. 

“It’s not going to stop. Its’s going to be a rising issue. Until we as employers can step in and start giving them the resources to help these issues from occurring. It’s going to always be number 2 and pretty soon it’s going to be number one.”

Carla Biro, Director of Gr8t Beginnings in Elkhart County mentioned that there are huge pockets of undeserved areas in terms of child care. Wakarusa, Napanee and the Fairfield areas don't have access to any high quality child care at all. 

She said the Goshen Mayor, legislatures and business owners are to meet this November to discuss the possibility of a fund for equal early high quality child care. 

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