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Tulsa's Women's Commission is tackling childcare gaps

A screenshot of the TWC's website for childcare resources.
A screenshot of the TWC's website for childcare resources.

After spending over a year working on the issue, the Tulsa Women’s Commission is nearly ready to present a childcare plan to the mayor.

The commission hosted a forum Friday with local business leaders to discuss the needs and challenges for implementing expanded childcare programs in the city.

"We thought there are companies within the Tulsa area who have also done that work," said Commission Chair Mary Quinn Cooper. "If they have an idea that we haven’t thought of, we thought a collaboration would be great."

Friday’s meeting was the first of three scheduled. Cooper said the goal is to come up with resources and programs the city can provide families in need of childcare. This plan is set to be presented to Mayor G.T. Bynum in May.

One example of a proposed resource is a new website devoted to connecting families to childcare options. That website isn't fully operational yet, but one page is publicly accessible.

The need for childcare may be growing in Tulsa. Saint Francis Health System recently announced it would be closing its on-site daycare, the Ave Maria Child Development Center.

Cooper said business leaders are becoming eager to learn more about how to help parents.

"We had a couple comments from people in the industry that said once employers figure out that this affects the longevity of their employees, that they really are concerned and committed to it," Cooper said.

Why the Women's Commission?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 90% of childcare workers in the U.S. are women.

However, Cooper said the issue of children receiving care doesn't automatically fall into any particular gender role.

"For some reason this falls into the laps of women when it shouldn’t," Cooper said. "It’s a family issue and should affect both parents equally."

The Women’s Commission will hold their next childcare forum in April.

Ben Abrams is a news reporter and All Things Considered host for KWGS.
Check out all of Ben's links and contact info here.