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Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act: Elizabeth Warren's child care Act

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Publication Date: 
31 Jan 2019


Too many families in the United States, across all incomes and geographies, struggle to find high-quality, affordable child care for their young children. Over the past generation, wages have effectively remained flat while child care costs have skyrocketed. In over half of all states in America, center-based infant child care now costs more than in-state public college tuition, and low-income parents spend over 17% of their income to access child care for their children aged 0 to 5. But child care providers cannot reduce prices any lower because their largest expense – child care worker wages – is already at its lowest point, with child care workers making less than $23,760 a year on average.

This means that, remarkably, only a third of families in this country are able to send their children to center or home-based child care, and a disproportionate number of working-class families rely on relatives or others, or have no arrangement at all.

This lack of access to high-quality, affordable child care prevents parents from fully participating in the workforce, holding them back from career and educational opportunities and placing a drag on our entire economy. It also contributes to too many children in the U.S. starting kindergarten without the skills they need to reach their full potential.

One of the smartest investments a society can make is to invest in its children, yet the United States spends less on children under the age of five than most other developed nations. This underinvestment harms children and families and negatively affects our economy. Although most developed countries have realized that high-quality child care is a public good that requires government investment to ensure families can access and afford it, the United States has failed to address this crisis as families continue to struggle. It’s time for change.