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Growing the Economy Through Affordable Child Care

Source: Center for American Progress

What’s the best way to show American children, families, and early educators we value their economic future as part of a full pandemic recovery? Make quality child care free for millions of children. Child care is the work that enables all other work; just as physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges allows workers to reach their workplaces, child care allows parents to work while their children enjoy the benefits that come from high-quality care. It’s time we properly invest in it.

The United States has failed to invest in child care for decades, and the COVID-19 pandemic turned our chronic child care crisis into an acute one. In response, President Joe Biden included $39 billion in the American Rescue Plan to help the child care sector recover from an unprecedented year of revenue losses. Still, in order to build a more inclusive, productive, and competitive economy, the United States must solve the underlying problem by finally investing in a comprehensive child care for working families.

That’s where the Child Care for Working Families Act (CCWFA) comes in. The legislation would provide free or reduced-cost child care to roughly 10 million children younger than age 6, fundamentally transforming families’ ability to find quality, affordable child care options. We estimate that more than 75 percent of working families with young children would benefit under the plan. It would also combat deep economic inequality, create well-paying early care and education jobs, and ultimately translate to job growth in a sector of the economy that cannot be outsourced or undercut by global competitors.