Families Lack Last-Minute Child Care Options, Impacting Work Performance and Career Advancement

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The State of Care Index™ -- a quarterly survey released by Care.com in July 2009 -- reports 82 percent of parents, when faced with a child care crisis in the past year, solved the problem by missing work.

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Anyone who relies regularly on outside sources for child care should have backup options in place

Most parents aren't prepared for a "care crisis" like a school closing, a child falling ill or a caregiver unexpectedly skipping work. Instead of preparing backup care arrangements, parents overwhelmingly choose to change their work schedules or miss work completely, according to a new study.

The State of Care Index™ -- a quarterly survey released by Care.com (http://www.care.com ) in July 2009 -- reports 82 percent of parents, when faced with a child care crisis in the past year, solved the problem by missing work. Nationwide, families do not have backup care arrangements in place for the inevitable bumps in the road and unplanned events that arise during child care. Instead, the study shows parents use unscheduled vacation time or call out sick, which creates a costly rise in absenteeism and impacts work performance.

"Instead of having a backup plan in place that provides quality secondary care arrangements, parents use their vacation hours, sick days or unpaid leave to attend to their child care needs," said Care.com Founder and CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo. "As a mother of two, I know the high levels of stress this creates for parents and how much it hurts their performance in the workplace and at home."

Not surprisingly, many parents believe there is a direct, negative link between their child care responsibilities and their potential for career success. The State of Care Index reports 45 percent of parents surveyed believe their caregiving responsibilities have hurt the work performance or career progress of their partner or themselves.

In light of the impact these child care crises have on work performance and employment, Marcelo suggests families prepare for these unplanned events before they happen.

"Anyone who relies regularly on outside sources for child care should have backup options in place," said Marcelo. "Maintain a current list of family members, friends or past babysitters, and keep it on hand so you can call on them at a moment's notice. You can even create and save a list approved backup of caregivers through Care.com to have on hand for emergencies."

Care.com recently launched a new service, Care-on-Call, that helps families connect to babysitters, special needs care, home care aides and pet sitters when they have a last-minute need. When members make a Care-on-Call request, Care.com communicates their needs via text message and email to a list of pre-selected, local caregivers who are willing to work on short notice. This gives families a better chance to find child care at the last minute, minimizing any potential work impact, as well.

Care.com, the premier source of trustworthy care options for families, released of the State of Care Index™ in cooperation with the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) in July 2009. The first survey of its kind, the Index is a quarterly snapshot of families' attitudes towards caregiving. The inaugural State of Care Index addresses the unique pressures families face from the cost and obligation of providing child care and senior care and how these responsibilities impact their daily lives. To read the full report, please visit http://www.care.com/stateofcare .

For the State of Care Index, Care.com surveyed a random sample of its nationwide membership base as well as the families in NACCRRA's Child Care Aware Parent Network in May 2009. The survey was conducted online and received 1,297 responses.

About Care.com
Founded in 2006, Care.com is the largest and fastest growing service used by families to find high-quality caregivers, providing a trusted place to easily connect, share caregiving experiences and get advice. The company addresses the unique lifecycle of care needs that each family goes through: child care, special needs care, tutoring and lessons, senior care, pet care, housekeeping and more. The service helps families find and select the best care possible based on detailed profiles, background checks and references for hundreds of thousands of mom-reviewed providers who seek to share their services. Through its Care.com for Recruiters service, Care.com also enables companies to find high-quality caregiving employees.

For more information, visit http://www.care.com .

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Mike Nagel
Care.com
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