Investing in Infant and Child Care to Strengthen Working Families


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Last month the Center for American Progress, a national progressive think tank, issued a report detailing the economic challenges facing families with very young children, Investing in Infant and Child Care to Strengthen Working FamiliesClick here to read the entire report.

The report’s key observation is that families with an infant or toddler spend about 50% more on childcare than families with a preschooler. This represents, on average, 12% of household income versus the cap of 7% recommended by federal guidelines. 

The report’s key conclusion is that state and federal governments should significantly increase funding for families with children under 3. 

The report noted that birth through three is an important developmental window with lifelong impact, and families with infants and toddlers are particularly cost-constrained.

  • According to a recent survey published in the New York Times, 1 in 5 parents report going into debt to pay for childcare.

  • Also noteworthy is the report’s finding that high-income families use licensed care at nearly 4 times the rate of low-income families– 52% compared with 14%.

The report is derived from the nationally representative U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

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