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Child Care Is Health Care

You want nothing but patience—or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.
Jane Austen, 1775-1817, Sense and Sensibility

In a January 16 New York Times opinion piece, Doctors Molly Dickens and Lucy Hutner write, "Urgently, as Congress comes up against a deadline for passing a new spending bill this week, we cannot afford any cuts to funding that will support child care development and early childhood education in the current appropriations bill. Additionally, Congress must act on the president’s request for $16 billion in supplemental emergency child care funding."

"The funding is a critical bandage on an open wound, but it is not a long-term fix. That $16 billion would be ‘a bridge that buys time to find a solution,’ said Elliot Haspel, a child and family policy expert at Capita, a family policy group. ‘Child care needs permanent federal investment. We need to shift our mind-set away from child care as an individual responsibility when it actually has a collective benefit. Strong families are the cornerstone of strong communities, strong cities, a strong nation, and if you care about strong families, you need to care about child care and long-term solutions.’"

The authors illuminate the link between childcare and mental health, both physical and mental, declaring, "It is time to appreciate that stable, affordable, accessible, high-quality child care is preventive medicine for decreasing long-term health risks. It is time to value care workers and early childhood educators for the crucial services they provide. It is time to view immediate federal investment in child care as a key part of the solution to address the growing mental health crisis. It is time to fight for permanent federal investment in child care as a critical expenditure, with an exponential effect on the health of Americans for generations to come. It is time to accept that child care is health care."


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