We welcome your engagement in efforts to harness and align our collective assets to advance local, regional, and state action in service of a re-imagined early childhood care and education system. 

With this newsletter we aim to educate and inform our community - from Greater Green Bay to Oshkosh - about the need for systems change and collectively engage in advocating for action.
Impact of COVID-19 on the Female Workforce
Female labor force participation is key to economic recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women’s employment, with female workforce participation at its lowest rate in more than 30 years. Women of color, women in low-wage jobs, and women with lower levels of educational attainment have been impacted especially hard.

Lack of child care is an important driver of women exiting the workforce. In the spring of 2021, nearly 15 percent of all women ages 25 to 44 nationwide were not working due to problems with child care.

Employers are taking note and looking for solutions, with two-thirds of senior business leaders reporting they would like to expand child care supports offered to their employees post-COVID. But these leaders cite barriers to doing so and are clear that employer incentives must be coupled with robust public investments, including subsidies to families with low incomes and direct assistance to child care providers. Read more here in a powerful new report from Ready Nation.
Development Delays Affect Children During COVID-19
The COVID-19 Pandemic took a toll on families. Economic and workforce insecurity, health concerns, education and child care arrangements constantly required parents to adapt quickly when caring for their families’ daily needs. While everyone was dealing with stress and mental health issues, our youngest children experienced an increased level of developmental concerns that understandably could be based on a more sedentary and virtual level of engagement. Without access to play groups, preschool, child care, 4K and other social and educational activities during COVID, young children ages 0-5 in the Fox Valley struggled to achieve positive developmental milestone gains in Fine Motor, Communication and Problem-Solving areas of the ASQ (Ages and Stages Questionnaire) developmental screening tool. Hit especially hard were children ages 24-42 months. (First 5 Fox Valley, 2021)
Why is this important information? When children do not have regular developmental screening, concerns are not monitored and it takes longer to meet school readiness goals. Children need social interaction, physical activity, safe and healthy living spaces, and opportunities to hear stories and play with friends. Our youngest children can quickly make gains, but it takes a community that empowers and supports every family to build a solid foundation for children in their first five years.
Over the next several months, First 5 Fox Valley along with our community partners will engage in more intentional outreach - both to the general population and health professionals to encourage families and providers to conduct and expand regular screenings so that any delays can be identified early. First 5 Fox Valley and its partners can offer families and providers simple tools and activities to use to enhance and promote key developmental gains.  
Please note: numbers in the above chart are rounded to the nearest whole number. Their actual values were used in calculating the change in rate. For example, Fine Motor Delays actuals are: pre-pandemic rate 7.69% and COVID rate 11.24% equaling a change in rate of 46%.
Thank You, Partners!