Market Insights Vol. 8: Family Demand on Track to Outpace Supply
In this month's Market Insights, we reflect on supply and demand trends from Q1 of 2022, highlight the work of one of our partners, and share about investments being made in early learning facilities.
Welcome to the first anniversary issue of Child Care Market Insights! We’ve been publishing Market Insights for one year, so we’ll take a look at Q1 supply and demand trends and compare the data to last year at this time. Let’s dive in!
What does the data tell us?
There continues to be misalignment between supply and demand, resulting in not enough families getting the care they need and providers continuing to lose essential revenue with unfilled seats.
Despite staffing shortages, providers have open seats for older children (>60 months) that are going unfilled. The lost potential revenue is unsustainable for providers and may impact the overall supply in communities across the county in the long term.
As compared to Q1 of 2022, demand has increased significantly, but breakdown by age group hasn’t varied much. Since the pandemic, we’ve watched families regularly push back their desired enrollment date as variants spiked or businesses delayed their return to the office. However, this year we’ve seen families looking for care immediately and then scrambling for alternatives. In most markets, families are giving less than three months notice for when they need care. Not surprisingly, those families aren’t often securing care on such short notice.
Are families enrolling in care?
One of the most interesting trends we’ve observed in every community where we work — regardless of location or size of the community — is that when providers spend less time answering the phone or emailing back-and-forth with families to schedule a tour, they have the capacity to think more about their classroom structure and current enrollment. As a result, many times we see one or two seats open up within a few days or weeks of using LegUp. This doesn’t result in a huge surge in supply, but it translates into a few families enrolling in care who might not have otherwise and providers securing revenue that was previously being overlooked. At scale though, and with the support of partners, these shifts can change the child care landscape.
In case you missed it, we featured the work of Enterprise Community Partners, and their investments in early learning facilities across the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about this work and their strategic investments here.
[Enterprise Community Partners] sees early learning programs as critical to providing King County children with a sound educational foundation and an opportunity for greater economic mobility. That is because access to quality early learning ensures that parents can stay in the workforce, thus providing economic stability for their families.
The New York Associate for the Education of Young Children is expanding its impact through its Shared Service Alliance, New York Early Learning Alliance (NYELA). NYELA just launched its second cohort, a mix of both home- and center-based providers, from select communities. Membership in NYELA includes business coaching support, regular meetings with NYELA coaches, LegUp’s Centralized Enrollment Platform, and Early Learning Ventures’ Child Care Management System, Alliance CORE. We have loved working with providers in NYELA’s membership and are looking forward to offering our continued support to this next cohort!
A Note from Jessica Eggert, CEO of LegUp
As we reflect back on the past year of publishing our Child Care Market Insights, our team has seen the power that our real-time supply and demand data has on the work of our partners. Our partners have spent years, if not decades, building relationships with providers, hearing their stories, and offering support, education, and resources. As a result, they serve as advocates for providers in their communities with policymakers, employers, and the public. Yet, that advocacy has only been strengthened when our partners now come equipped with real-time data that validates the stories they hear. Our partners have shared with us how they’ve used our data to shape how their community’s American Rescue Plan funding is distributed or where their policymakers have made room in local budgets to build new child care facilities. This data has connected our partners with economic development agencies, workforce boards, and employers to help them understand the unique needs of their community and how they can be part of the solutions.
We’ve spent a year sharing with our partners the insights and trends that we’ve observed and they have then translated it into action. We are grateful to each of our partners who have worked with us, committed to data-driven coaching and advocacy, and enhanced their support of providers along the way. We couldn’t do this work without them, and we wouldn’t want to!
If you’re interested in learning more about our work with partners, drop us a note and we’d be glad to connect.