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Access to child care improves parent mental health, reduces stress

May 1, 2024

This Mental Health Awareness Month, KinderCare Learning Companies’ Parent Confidence Index highlights access to child care as a key factor in parent mental health

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore.,  May 1, 2024 – Recent data from KinderCare Learning Companies' fifth annual Parent Confidence Index, a national study conducted in partnership with The Harris Poll, found that consistent, high-quality child care is the number one thing parents say would improve their mental health. Additionally, 65% of parents said if they knew they would always have quality child care they would be able to be more present as a parent when with their children. 

The study reveals that 88% of parents believe access to consistent, high-quality child care would improve their mental health, however, they feel it’s becoming increasingly difficult to secure high-quality childcare in their community; nearly half of parents say finding child care feels “impossible” right now and half identified it as a significant source of stress. In addition, 71% of parents said they’re constantly thinking about child care gaps, a 7% increase from 2023. 

“Access to high-quality child care is of utmost importance, both for the mental health of parents and caregivers and for the wellbeing of children year-round,” said Dr. Marquita Davis, Chief Academic Officer of KinderCare. “This data inspires us to continue searching for ways to improve access to care, both through community centers and through customizable employer-sponsored child care benefits. We want families to have confidence that their children are learning and growing in a safe space, as we know that knowledge allows parents to focus on all of the other things they need to do in a day.” 

The report also showed for working parents, quality child care can help them excel in their careers: 78% of parents said confidence in their child care allows them to excel at work, pointing to employers as potential key drivers of improved parental mental health through the provision of child care benefits. 

The full 2024 KinderCare Parent Confidence Index can also be found here.


The Parent Confidence Index was first conducted in 2019. This year's survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of KinderCare from November 3, 2023, to November 15, 2023, among 2,004 parents with children aged 12 and younger representing a national sample. Within the sample, 1,177 parents with children ages 5 and under and 827 parents with children ages 6-12 were surveyed.

About KinderCare Learning Companies®

A leading provider early childhood and school-age education and care, KinderCare builds confidence for life in children and families from all backgrounds. KinderCare supports hardworking families in 40 states and the District of Columbia with differentiated flexible child care solutions to meet today’s dynamic work environment:

  • In neighborhoods, with KinderCare® Learning Centers that offer early learning programs for children six weeks to 12 years old and with Crème de la Crème School®, which offers a premium early education model using a variety of themed classrooms;
  • At work, through KinderCare Learning Companies for Employers™, providing customized family benefits for employers across the country, including employer-supported child care benefits, on-site and near-site early learning centers and back-up care for last-minute child care, and
  • In local schools, with Champions® before and after-school programs.

KinderCare programs meet the highest standards, validated by independent, third-party evaluation including:

  • Gallup, measuring workforce engagement,
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children, ensuring individual early learning center quality,
  • Cognia, accreditation for before- and after-school programs
  • BRIGANCE® and TerraNova® assessments of children’s academic progress and achievement, and
  • WELL Health-Safety Rating™, validating health and safety practices in our facilities.

Headquartered in Lake Oswego, Oregon, KinderCare operates more than 2,400 early learning centers and sites. In 2024, KinderCare earned its eighth Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award – one of only two current organizations worldwide to achieve this milestone for eight consecutive years. To learn more, visit