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The pandemic made plain how essential child care is to a functioning economy; women's labor force participation hit a three-decade low as mothers left the workforce to take on the lion's share of caregiving

 

... But, even before the pandemic, the child care economy was broken

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Figure 1. Change in Labor Force Participation among Prime-Age Adults since January 2020, by Gender and Parental Status,
The Hamilton Project, Brookings

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Figure 2. Child Care Market Failure

Reliance on a market-based system for setting prices means that,
on one hand, low- and moderate-income parents cannot afford
high-quality care, on the other, child care is one of the most underpaid fields in the United States 

 

Children who miss out on quality early care and education start kindergarten behind, which leads to a lifetime of inequitable health and wealth outcomes**

Adopting policies that dramatically expand subsidized care and boost wages is essential

 

But we also must expand the supply of high-quality care, particularly in child care deserts

Sector-specific workforce development strategies will both expand the supply and make jobs in the child care economy better

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Figure 3. Interdependence in the Child Care Economy

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Figure 4. Virtuous Circle of High-Quality Home-Based  Child Care

ECONOMIC SECURITY AND MOBILITY FOR WOMEN & FAMILIES OF COLOR

Nearly 3 in 4 home-based child care business owners in California are women of color, including undocumented immigrants 

 

Home-based child care business owners can earn a family-sustaining income by applying sound business administration practices

 

Preparing women to run high-quality programs increases economic opportunity for owners, children and families alike 

Home-based child care businesses start, struggling businesses are viable, small businesses expand

Marginalized entrepreneurs earn more & build wealth

Supply of quality care increases in child care deserts

Parents work and build economic security

 

Children build skills to succeed in school, leading to intergenerational health and wealth outcomes

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Xavier Cortada, Dreaming of A World Free of Poverty, World Bank, Washington, DC, 2003

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