By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In recent years, lawmakers have been focused on addressing the sky-high cost of child care.

MORE: AG Ellison’s task force releases report and recommendations for expanding women’s economic security

READ MORE: Minneapolis Park Board To Extend Hours For Kid's Activities If Teachers Go On Strike

It’s become even more of an important issue during the pandemic when so many smaller home daycares closed, further limiting options. Many women left the workforce to take care of children.

In Burnsville Thursday morning, a roundtable was organized to discuss child care costs and the economic security of women. The roundtable was hosted by Attorney General Keith Ellison and Sen. Linsey Port. They met with child care providers, teachers, and parents.

READ MORE: Study Finds MN Child Care Costs Jumped 60% During Pandemic

A major discussion point was that women are more likely to leave the workforce when they can’t find affordable child care. Child care providers also talked about needing help with staffing by ensuring a living wage for providers to have quality and adequate child care.

“When we think about childcare and women’s economic security, it is both sides of the issue. It is women who are staying out of the workforce because they can’t afford child care, and also most providers are women and they are not paid a living wage. It really is economic security we have to look at from both sides,” Port said.

A study from the Economic Policy Institute found that Minnesota ranks fourth in the nation for most expensive child care. The average annual cost of sending an infant to a daycare center was over $16,000 a year – and that was in 2019.

MORE NEWS: Updated Guidelines For Quarantining COVID-Exposed Kids Puts Some Parents In Tough Spot

Costs have gone up significantly during the pandemic. A study from Lendingtree found child care costs have gone up as much as 60% in Minnesota.

Kate Raddatz