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Despite being a critical economic support for working families and a key lever for promoting early learning and social-emotional development, child care is inaccessible and unaffordable for far too many families across the United States. The cost of providing high-quality child care is beyond what most families are able to pay, and child care subsidies that offset some of those costs only reach a fraction of eligible families and fail to meet providers’ true financial needs. Even when families can afford child care expenses, many face challenges with finding a seat in a program close to their home or work or with availability to work with their schedule. More than half of the U.S. population lives in a child care desert, with low-income, rural, and Hispanic and Latino communities facing the highest rates of child care deserts. Child care workers—who are overwhelmingly women and disproportionately women of color—are paid poverty wages with few if any benefits, driving a workforce recruitment and retention issue.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the child care crisis into focus, but historic underinvestment and inaction on child care has resulted in a child care system that does not adequately meet the needs of anyone it should. The time is long overdue for large-scale public investments in a child care system that truly meets the needs of all families and fairly compensates the essential work of educators who make up the child care workforce.
Acting Senior Director, Early Childhood Policy
Senior Policy Analyst
Senior Director, Early Childhood Policy
at a time
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.
Jul 27, 2022
A New Hampshire mother uses American Rescue Plan stimulus checks to afford transportation to work.
After spending tens of thousands of dollars on child care, a New Hampshire mom explains how the expanded child tax credit helped her afford child care costs.
Faced with high child care costs, a Nevada mother and minister opened a child care center with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
The expanded child tax credit came right on time to help a Georgia mother of four avoid homelessness.
Forced out of the workforce due to high child care costs, a new mother in Georgia used the expanded child tax credit to make ends meet.
An Indigenous Arizona mother rations insulin without the expanded child tax credit.
A front-line health care worker and mother watched her son develop Type 1 diabetes following a recent COVID-19 infection and urges insulin price reform.
A lack of paid leave forces a working Arizona mom to sacrifice her income in order to take her son to the doctor.
An Arizonan mother of three relied on the expanded child tax credit to afford increasing housing costs with stagnating wages.
An Arizona mother describes the struggle to afford child care and preschool costs for her 3-year-old daughter.
On inflation, voters want child care support to help get people back to work—but strongly object to a rise in unemployment to lower costs.
Mar 11, 2022
Ruy Teixeira, John Halpin
Economic growth must be built on the foundation of a strong and secure middle class so that all Americans benefit from growth.
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