Healthy Child Development Depends on Quality Child Care—And So Does the Economy


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The Learning Policy Institute recently shared a blog post written by Research Analyst and Policy Advisor, Hanna Melnick. The post shares information about the importance of  high quality child care to both child development and broad economic well-being, and includes some telling statistics that reveal how fragile our child care system really is.

Click here to read the entire post. Or, find few highlights below: 

  • Between March and April, 336,000 child care workers lost their jobs, and thousands of child care centers/family child care homes are in danger of closing permanently.

  • Closures could lead to the loss of as many as 450,000 child care slots, undermining the ability of parents to return to work and efforts to reopen the economy. 

  • Children under five rely on providers for stable, nurturing care. Loss of these relationships and early learning opportunities can exacerbate achievement gaps. 

  • Most parents have stopped paying tuition during closures. 

    • There is little room for providers to make up for that lost revenue, since they operate on thin margins – the vast majority of funds go to payroll and rent. 

    • Cutting wages isn’t a viable option, given that child care workers are paid an average of just $10.72 an hour—which is less than what 98% of U.S. workers make. 

  • States and the federal government are mobilizing to respond to the impending child care crisis, but the costs and logistical challenges are daunting. 

  • What will it take to keep child care programs open? 

    • Analysis from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) estimates that it will cost a total of more than $50 billion assuming (1) the government would cover private programs’ lost tuition for 6 months to enable them to continue paying staff and rent and (2) the government would cover the cost of providing child care for essential workers 

  • Sustained investments in early learning have been shown to pay off in long-term benefits for children and strong returns on investment. In the short run, these investments will also allow America to go back to work.

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