Ivanka Trump looks for solutions to childcare challenges during stop in KC on national tour

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Improving access to affordable and high-quality childcare is the mission of the president's daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump.

On Thursday, she hosted a round table talk on the issue at Metropolitan Community College.

Ivanka Trump offered smiles, high fives and hugs to students while touring the Guadalupe Center's childcare facility at MCC.

"Childcare is fundamental to enabling us to continue being able to drive up workforce participation rates, bring people off the sidelines and increase opportunities for those already working as they seek to better their own lives and those of their families," Trump said.

That's why Ivanka is hosting a series of roundtable discussions on childcare around the country -- to find out what's working and what's not.

"We want to encourage innovation in this space as well and that will be critically important as we move forward," Trump said.

Raneesha Goodwin became a mom at just 14 and said on-campus care at MCC's been a saving grace.

"Without Penn Valley, I really don't know where I would be right now because I've come a long way," Goodwin said.

Workplace and school-provided daycare centers aren't available to everyone, leaving many families with heavy challenges, from wait lists to limited hours that don't match work schedules.

There's also the challenge of the steep price. Childcare cost for infants in Missouri average at nearly $10,000 a year, which is more than the cost of a year in state college tuition.

"We really are looking for opportunities to find some solutions to help us in terms of workforce development, recruiting and retention, but also just helping our workers find that magic balance between life at work and life at home," said Mona Martin, human resources director for Dunn Aerosystems.

These discussions are bringing to light some things that could help, like streamlining the process to get childcare subsidies and giving that money more flexibility in how it can be used.

Officials are also looking for creative ways to get broader access to all families, which ultimately stands to benefit the entire economy.

"Really it's a very difficult situation, so just interested in continuing to learn from around the country and hear from experts and gather more as we try to come up with some solutions in this area," US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

There are three more stops in Ivanka Trump's childcare tour in the coming weeks.

All the information and feedback collected from the round tables across the country will help craft potential budget and legislative items aimed at expanding access to affordable and quality childcare.

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