Child Care Plays a Vital Role in the U.S. Economy.
- About one-third of American children under age five attended a paid care facility, a daycare center, preschool, or prekindergarten before the coronavirus pandemic.
- Child care can be hard to find and expensive. The average annual cost of child care was over $9,000 per child in 2019, according to Childcare Aware of America, and the number of at-home daycare providers has declined due to over-regulation and high costs.”
- The pandemic disrupted childcare services, but they were much more likely to provide in person service than public K-12 schools: By the end of 2020, an estimated 73 percent of childcare programs had opened compared to about one third of K-12 public schools. Economic disruptions would have been far worse if our childcare sector had behaved like government run schools.
Government Regulations Create Obstacles in Child Care.
- Recent parental dissatisfaction with the K-12 public school system—over curriculum, staffing, masking policies, and much more—should caution against more federal oversight in the daycare sector.
- The Biden administration’s Build Back Better’s childcare provisions would give the federal government the biggest role in childcare programs, introducing regulations that would increase the costs of operation and attendance, and reduce diversity of childcare.
- Although advertised as a means to improve life outcomes for children, government childcare and preschool programs have failed to produce long term benefits.
Policymakers Should Support Parents, Not Just Child Care.
- Heavily subsidizing the provision of government-approved day care would force parents to turn away from alternative childcare options like family- or faith-based care, which many parents prefer.
- Instead of increasing federal control of child care, policymakers should reduce government burdens to allow parents to choose the type of care that is best suited for their children. Lawmakers should focus on creating a diverse, accessible and affordable childcare sector so parents can make decisions for their families.
Click HERE to read the full policy focus and learn more about how parents—not government—should control child care.