Child Care

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.


Compact View

Women’s Stories on Economic Justice and Health Care Article

Women’s 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.

What’s the Point? Americans’ Views on Inflation Article
An educator reads to a 6-month-old girl at a child care center in Denver.

What’s the Point? Americans’ Views on Inflation

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.

Ruy Teixeira, John Halpin

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Related Priorities

Building an Economy for All

Building an Economy for All

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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