I’m going to take off my Comptroller hat for a moment, and tell you about my family.
Like women across Ulster County, I went from being a working mom balancing care for my kids and time with my family to a working daughter balancing the needs of my aging parents with the needs of my family and my job. Right now, my mom is not only suffering the indignities of Alzheimer’s, but I am struggling to find the support we need to care for her. And even with two incomes and resources, the care we might be able to eventually get will quickly break the bank. And while these are family issues, finding and providing quality care for kids and parents is something I have take on, just like women across the country disproportionally do.
So I can tell you from firsthand experience that our care economy needs a shot in the arm.
We need safe, nurturing environments for our kids to grow and learn, and we need skilled care givers in our communities who can help our parents age safely and with dignity. We need to make sure that we can afford care for the people we love, and fairly pay the people doing the caretaking. While many of us struggle to find and afford care, most of the people who deliver care to our kids and parents aren’t earning enough to afford it for their own. The average family spends 25% of their income on child care, and for hourly wage workers, it can be as high as 90%.
There are answers out there, and they all begin with smart investments in the care economy to train and retain caregivers, support quality care in our communities through innovation like distributed home-based services, and make sure that families can easily access the resources that are available to them. I would like to see Ulster County lead the way.