Child care is an essential part of our economy, preparing children for the future and enabling parents and caregivers to work, all while employing a large workforce. However, years of disinvestment have created a precarious system that is now on the verge of collapse in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The impact of the pandemic on child care has already been extensive—from fully closed programs, to programs operating to meet the needs of essential workers, to those trying to stay open with reduced enrollment while doing everything they can to ensure that the children and staff remain healthy—the system is struggling to survive. It is now more important than ever to invest in child care to ensure that, when we come out on the other side of all of this, all families who need it are able to find high-quality affordable child care and the essential contribution of child care workers is valued.
This resource highlights five important points that should be at the heart of the economic
- The country needs child care, especially to weather and recover from an economic downturn. Child care is an essential support that helps parents and caregivers enter and stay in the workforce.
- Without significant support now, the child care industry will not be able to survive this crisis and will struggle to bounce back, leaving families and communities at a loss.
- Child care is an essential part of racial, gender, and economic justice. If child care businesses go under, it is women—and especially women of color—who will pay the price.
- Child care isn’t just about supporting the economy—it provides critical stability for children’s health and wellbeing that is essential during uncertain times such as these.
- Fewer child care programs after the pandemic will have implications for both parents’ choices as well as the ability to find culturally competent care.