Child Care Aware of America’s report, “Demanding Change: Repairing our Child Care System,” outlines how the United States child care system has changed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the pandemic spotlighted both the dire state of child care in our country and how vital it is to the well-being and economic security of our children, families, and communities, the child care industry was already in crisis.
Child care has never received the resources needed to create a strong, equitable system. Further, the child care system is not designed to accommodate the diverse needs of families. For example, scheduling, geographic and financial needs are all barriers that disproportionately impact families of color and families who work nontraditional hours, making it extremely challenging and stressful to secure affordable, high-quality child care.
When COVID-19 was layered onto the already fragile child care system, it shattered. Short-term COVID-19 relief will not solve our nation’s ongoing and long-standing child care crisis. Comprehensive policy change that provides sustainable solutions is the only way to truly rebuild the child care system. Additional investments are needed, not only to assist families with young children with child care in the immediate term, but also to transform the child care industry into one that is affordable, accessible, and equitable for the long term.