As lawmakers debate how to get financially struggling Americans through the pandemic, one idea is more cash for families with children, with payments structured like mini-stimulus checks coming monthly.
In a child-care system where prices are rising and spots are contracting, however, the question is how much of dent these proposals can make for families confronting the expensive juggling act of work and daycare.
“Child care is not affordable for far too many,” said Mario Cardona, chief of policy and practice at Child Care Aware of America, an organization focused on child-care quality, access and affordability.
Added money for families is “incredibly helpful for families, but in terms of child care, the cost of care is incredibly high,” he added.
Families paid an average for one child’s day care in 2019, according to data from the organization.
Taking stock of the proposals, Cardona said, “Making changes are incredibly helpful, but’s not going to solve the problem” of access and affordability. Furthermore, he said, there would no requirement the money gets spent on child care. That’s why direct investment in child care businesses and extra funding for child care subsidies are needed, he said.