By Molly Messick
Laramie, WY – The Wyoming Women's Foundation is beginning its tenth year with a special focus on access to childcare. The organization visited towns across Wyoming last year to assess the availability of childcare, and found it lacking statewide. Now it's hoping to bring local, state and federal attention to the problem. Program Director Sarah Mikesell-Growney says that local businesses and parents need to be involved, too: "We don't feel like there's going to be one fell swoop of funding that's going to solve all the problems. What we need to look at is an early child development system for all of our communities."
The Wyoming Women's Foundation points to several aspects of the childcare shortage. Childcare workers typically earn just over minimum wage, and struggle to stay afloat. And women with children have trouble finding quality care, which means they can't easily pursue full-time work.