Working parents are facing unprecedented child care challenges, and they’re looking for more support navigating them from HR leaders.

We commissioned a survey of 1,000 U.S. parents to determine just how parents across the country are thinking about child care decision-making for the fall. What we heard is most parents are anxious, undecided, and want more support as they navigate these decisions—which is why we partnered with New York Times-best selling author and Brown University professor of economics, Emily Oster, on our COVID-19 Child Care Decision Tool.

Here are some of the big takeaways from our new research that lend insights into the challenges that parents are facing regarding child care right now:

1. More than 3 in 5 parents do not have a clear plan for child care or school this Fall.

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  • Parents with younger children are facing greater uncertainty: 72% of parents with kids age 5 and younger do not have a clear plan.
  • Compared with 44% of parents with kids between 11 and 17 years old do have a clear plan.

2. Two-thirds of parents report feeling anxious as they navigate decisions about child care this Fall.

  • 42% are very anxious when it comes to these decisions.
  • Parents whose youngest child is between 5 and 10 are more likely to be very anxious (50%) than those whose youngest child is less than 5 (37%) or between 11 and 17 (37%).  

3. The majority of parents, 62%, plan on keeping their children home, although only 38% are definite about this. 15% percent of parents still have no idea at all.

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4. Nearly 60% of working parents do not feel supported by their employer as they navigate child care challenges.

  • 1 in 5 parents feel they are receiving little to no support from their employer.
  • Parents with children under 5 feel less supported than parents with older children (ages 10 and up).
  • Most parents (57%) rated support from their employer as 7 or lower on a 0-10 point scale.  

5. Parents are putting their own well-being last as they make these decisions, which could carry long-term implications for their mental health.

  • 45% of parents said their child’s education, mental health, and social development are the top factors impacting their decision.
  • Only 5% of parents said their own mental health was a main concern influencing their decisions about child care and schooling this Fall.

If you’re an HR leader looking for more ways to support working parents through this challenging time, download our 8 Best practices from top workplaces for parents checklist to find out more!

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