CHICAGO (CBS) —  Millions of parents nationwide count on childcare to keep their kids safe and happy.

But a new report says not enough families have access to the quality care they need. Business and civic leaders are calling it a crisis.

They said it’s hurting parents and children and costing billions of dollars in lost productivity in Illinois alone.

The Ready Nation study shows more than one half of parents report being late for their jobs missing a whole day of work or working while distracted because of worries over childcare.

Thirteen percent have seen pay reduced while 8% have been fired and 25% had to reduce work hours or turn down new opportunities. Ripple effects, including work shifts that are uncovered have shown that productivity goes down.

There’s more.

The study points out that childcare prepares babies and toddlers for kindergarten, giving them a leg up on reading, socializing and other important aspects of life.

Experts said it also spurs greater success in later education and eventually builds a stronger workforce and stronger communities.

The leaders said Illinois has come a long way, but more dollars are needed for child care centers and early childhood education.