The Cost of Child Care
Many families say that child care isn't working for them. They say that it's too expensive, or it's unattainable, or the quality is so poor.
Part I of the series looks at two families struggling with child care. One family spends more than $2,000 a month on child care. The other family -- headed by a single mother -- adjusts work hours to save money that otherwise would have to be spent on baby sitters. Listen to the report from Jason Beaubien of member station WBUR in Boston.
The Importance of High Quality Child Care
Experts say development from birth to age five lays the foundation for how well a child learns and grows. But few child care centers are able to provide the enrichment children need at a price most parents can afford.
Part II looks at the importance of providing children with stable, challenging environments. Listen as Kathryn Baron of member station KQED reports.
A System That Works
One institution that's been at the forefront of the effort to provide children with the high quality care they need is the United States military. A decade ago the military's child care system was a disaster. Congressional action led to an ambitious program to improve the quality of its day care and to make it affordable for all military families. Listen as NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports that today the military is seen as a model child care provider.
Looking Outward for Solutions
This past fall in Canada, the government made good on a promise
to inject $2.2 billion (Canadian) over five years into provincial child care services. The move follows an expensive and revolutionary experiment in the French-speaking province of Quebec. Three years ago, the province began offering child care for every family who wanted it, at a cost
of $5 (Canadian) a day. Listen as Loreen Pindera reports on how the experiment is working.
The Politics of Child Care
In the U.S., any push for an enlarged federal role in the care of young children faces considerable inertia from most politicians in Washington. That's because there is little evidence of public demand for vast new programs of any kind. In exit polls from the November 7th election, voters put Social Security, reducing the national debt and cutting taxes far ahead of new spending on other domestic programs. That parallels polls that specifically address child care. Listen as NPR's David Molpus reports -- in the final installment of our care series -- on the political dynamics of child care.