Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Childcare in America: the system is in danger of collapsing

Status: 08/10/2022 1:45 PM

On average, a family in the United States spends about a quarter of their income at a daycare location. Childcare has become a luxury item in the United States.

von Theresa Graeme, ARD-Studio Washington;

Idris is not fully awake when his mother Yasmin picks him up from childcare in the afternoon. He just turned two and feels comfortable in a day care center – luckily. Because there is neither statutory maternity protection nor parental leave in the United States.

For this reason, babies often attend daycare at the age of just a few months. And that cost. Mother Yasmin was shocked when she found out how expensive caring for her son would be: “I really didn’t know.” she remembers:

I was stunned when I saw the prices.

“Childcare costs range from $2,700 to $3,000 a month for children up to the age of one year,” Yasmin says. 3000 Dollars: This currently equates to around 3000 Euros. Yasmin and her husband have to pay this amount every month.

It’s the Most Expensive in Massachusetts

When it comes to childcare, Yasmin and her husband have chosen the worst possible – because the most expensive – place in the USA: Boston in Massachusetts. The state charges the highest fee across the country.

But childcare is also extremely expensive elsewhere in the US. On average, a family has to spend about a quarter of their income on a day care center – take care of one child.

In the United States, parents are on their own until a state-funded school career begins at preschool around age five. Funding is limited – for low-income families. And precisely because there is almost no state funding, it is only enough for day-care centers to survive.

Pandemic as a fire accelerator

The same thing applies to employees as well. Teachers are among the lowest paid workers in the country. When Corona came and it was accompanied by several lockdowns, many of them decided to shut down completely.

Author and education expert Elliot Haspel says the pandemic acted like an accelerator of fire. “Many other low-wage industries, such as fast-food stores, have raised the hourly wage to $16 or $17 and offer benefits such as health insurance. Childcare is $12 — often with no other benefits.”

demand for government funding

This sector is also a problem for the economy. Companies cannot afford to lose well-trained employees because, for cost reasons, they take care of the children themselves and stay at home. Eventually, some offer to let their employees take part of the daycare cost. That’s good, education expert Haspel says. but:

This would not work without ongoing government funding.

Haspel said the US spends the third lowest percentage of its GDP on early childhood education of any industrialized nation. “Only 0.3 percent — the target would be one percent.”

New Mexico is making progress

Invest more money: The state of New Mexico wants to dare. They recently decided that childcare should be free for most families. Meanwhile, some states are at least considering better childcare. Also in Massachusetts.

Until something like this happens, Yasmin and her husband will have to put their family planning on hold: “There’s no way we can take care of two kids at the same time, we can’t afford that,” she says. She and her husband wanted another child, she thinks. “But then it’s over.”

Childcare in the United States – a system dismantled

Theresa Graeme, ARD Washington, 10.8.2022 12:54 uhr

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