Universal childcare is a must!

Quality childcare can cost as much as the rent, making it inaccessible for many working-class families.

By Hale Morrissette

Childcare in the United States is frustrating for everyone involved. Families pay way too much for daycare or are priced out of childcare programs altogether, and care providers earn far too little.

The cost of childcare is an issue for most working families and single parents. Though childcare is needed for parents to work, the $700 monthly price tag makes it inaccessible for many parents. Studies show that over 2.3 million women have dropped out of the workforce since last February, compared to 1.8 million men who left the labor force.

After months of discussion in Congress, the House has finally passed Biden’s nearly $2 trillion social spending bill. The initiative includes about $400 billion for early childhood education — universal preschool and affordable childcare.

According to the report, an average woman with two children could see a $97,000 increase in her lifetime earnings under universal childcare. Overall, the number of women working full time would increase by 17 percent. The number of women working without a college degree would jump by about 31 percent.

Quality childcare can cost as much as the rent, making it inaccessible for many working-class families. As working-class parents, having quality support will positively impact the family and community in which they reside.

It’s also essential for all children to have consistent relationships with people outside of their family. That shouldn’t come with the fear of safety or have a price tag attached to it. Educational gains come from early childhood education that is paired with quality childcare.

With two-thirds of children being raised by parents who go to work daily, the United States cannot allow the childcare industry to struggle — or not exist for all people. That simply cannot be an option for families.

We must hold President Joe Biden and policymakers accountable. They must support parents’ ability to provide for their families by building a childcare system that supports and offers affordable and accessible care options for all families beginning at a child’s birth.

Universal childcare and acceptable compensations for the workforce are powerful tools for achieving racial and economic equity after the pandemic and beyond.

Haile Morrissette

Hale Morrissette is a human rights activist in Pensacola. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work from the University of West Florida and is the Regional Organizer of the Dream Defenders’ Pensacola chapter.

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