As child care costs continue to climb, mothers are often pushed out of the workforce to care for their children. Some used the expanded child tax credit (CTC) to afford child care and remain in the workforce. But in some states, wages were too low for parents to afford child care, as new mom Julia Callahan in Macon, Georgia, experienced.
At the time Julia first became a mother, the cost of child care was so high that it forced her out of her career. Child care took up the majority of her income. Ultimately, she had no choice but to leave the workforce to care for her child. Now, Julia is a mother of two, and child care is just as hard to afford as it was with her first child. The CTC helped bridge the gaps in her family’s budget after she lost her income, but Julia hopes to return to the workforce if child care ever becomes affordable.
Child care for a month was $540, and making $9 per hour meant I was putting myself in the hole from just working. I really wanted to work, and I tried hard to work it out, but it just wasn’t possible.
Permanent expansion of the CTC would help many parents afford the high cost of child care, meaning many mothers could remain in or reenter the workforce. Supporting and ensuring women’s success is critical to recovering from the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more stories on economic justice and health care
This storybook features women in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire whose stories center on issues from prescription drug pricing and health insurance, to child care and paid leave.