Author(s): New America
- Brigid Schulte
- Alieza Durana
Published: Sept. 28, 2016
"In the past 50 years, the experience of the American family has undergone a sea change. In the mid-twentieth century, breadwinner-homemaker families were not only more the norm, but held up as the ideal. Today, there is no one “typical” American family. And in a majority of families with children under 18, all parents work for pay outside the home. That means, on any given day, about 12 million children under the age of five will need a safe place to go and someone loving to care for them.
A good early care and learning system should support the healthy development of children, particularly at a time when their brains are rapidly growing and laying the foundation for all future learning. A functioning system should sustain the financial stability and health of families, promote opportunity and equity, support and sustain businesses, and help the economy thrive. And an effective system should be built on three pillars: affordable cost, high quality, and easy availability.
That is not happening in the current fragmented, patchwork system.
The Care Index, a data and methodology collaboration between New America, Care.com and others, examined cost, quality, and availability data in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and found that no single state does well in all three categories. Instead, families, providers, and policymakers in every state make difficult compromises that often shape family decisions and can determine the course of children’s futures."