Affording Child Care In America

Affording Child Care In America

This week on the presidential campaign trail, Donald Trump took a big step out of traditional Republican territory to propose a federal solution to the high cost of child care. His plan suggests utilizing the tax code to give a break to working parents with young kids.

Introducing her father at a community center outside Philadelphia, Ivanka Trump characterized America’s current child care system as “too expensive, too outdated and too inaccessible.”

Later in the week, Ivanka Trump criticized Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for not taking action to address this problem during her decades of public service.

Sidelined with pneumonia for much of the week, Clinton said little to defend herself. However, her website offers detailed policy positions on early childhood education and includes a promise to fight for 12 weeks of paid family leave – which doubles Trump’s proposal and would apply to both fathers and mothers.

Struggling to make sense of the candidates' proposals? Wondering why American child care looks the way it does? These articles from The Conversation’s archive will help bring you up to speed.

A patchy history

Corey Shdaimah of the University of Maryland and Elizabeth Palley of Adelphi University recently wrote this history of child care policy in the U.S. The first government funded child care was created during World War II, the scholars point out, with the country spending US$52 million to subsidize full-day child care to help support women working in the nation’s factories. But this program ended when the war did.

Reform efforts have made some progress in the decades since, but Shdaimah and Palley still see the American system as lacking:

 Get The Latest From InnerSelf

“The U.S. is one of the few economically developed nations with a patchwork of care that fails to address the ongoing needs of families with children. Despite the fact that a majority of U.S. parents are in the paid labor force, there is a dearth of affordable quality child care.”

The authors also see reasons to feel hopeful this election cycle:

“The current interest in child care demonstrated by both major presidential candidates could provide a rare opportunity for bipartisan agreement.”

What about dads?

But what is driving the candidates' interest in child care? Some pundits suggested that Trump’s focus is an attempt to bolster his sagging support among women – recently hovering at just 34 percent.

But Gayle Kaufman of Davidson College dismisses the idea that child care is important to women only. Writing about the findings in the first State of America’s Fathers report, Kaufman points out that “fathers are parents, too.”

Dads “are also having difficulties successfully combining work and family,” Kaufman writes, concluding with a call for “paid, non-transferable, job-protected leave.”

Driving growth

Giving parents the ability to write off child care may have impacts beyond family finances.

In a piece for our business desk, Sarah Thebaud of University of California, Santa Barbara presents original research suggesting a surprising economic upside to providing better child care – it may provide a boost to the economy by encouraging female entrepreneurship. Thebaud writes:

“when women have access to policies like paid leave or subsidized childcare, their odds of starting a venture oriented toward economic growth and job creation are higher. When they don’t, their odds are lower.”

Paid leave may be good for the economy, but could help affording better child care make America’s parents happier?

Matthew Johnson of SUNY tells us research shows that kids kill romance – but that’s one problem that politicians are unlikely to be able to solve.

About The Author

Emily Costello, Senior Editor, Politics + Society, The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Related Books

{amazonWS:searchindex=Books;keywords=affordable childcare;maxresults=3}


follow InnerSelf on


 Get The Latest By Email



Why Donald Trump Could Be History's Biggest Loser
by Robert Jennings,
Updated July 2, 20020 - This whole coronavirus pandemic is costing a fortune, maybe 2 or 3 or 4 fortunes, all of unknown size. Oh yeah, and, hundreds of thousands, maybe a million, of people will die…
Blue-Eyes vs Brown Eyes: How Racism is Taught
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
In this 1992 Oprah Show episode, award-winning anti-racism activist and educator Jane Elliott taught the audience a tough lesson about racism by demonstrating just how easy it is to learn prejudice.
A Change Is Gonna Come...
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
(May 30, 2020) As I watch the news on the events in Philadephia and other cities in the country, my heart aches for what is transpiring. I know that this is part of the greater change that is taking…
A Song Can Uplift the Heart and Soul
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
I have several ways that I use to clear the darkness from my mind when I find it has crept in. One is gardening, or spending time in nature. The other is silence. Another way is reading. And one that…
Mascot for the Pandemic and Theme Song for Social Distancing and Isolation
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
I came across a song recently and as I listened to the lyrics, I thought it would be a perfect song as a "theme song" for these times of social isolation. (Lyrics below the video.)