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Child Care Is Health Care
January 19, 2024
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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Comments (4)

Displaying All 4 Comments
Kirsten Haugen · January 23, 2024
Eugene, OR, United States

Thank you, Monica, Frances and James, for your thoughts. Frances, yes, we need local and state-level investment, too. That is unfolding differently across the country. The video I did with Heidi Hagel Braid dives into that a bit. The questions of continued federal funding are happening now. With the Child Care Stabilization Grants, much of the implementation was left up to the states, so unlike a lot of federal funds for special education, for example, it became, in essence, state funds. And yes, always, appropriate pay for the very important work early childhood practitioners provide. As the piece above says, "It is time to value care workers and early childhood educators for the crucial services they provide." For me, fair wages are an essential part of that.
Monica, thanks for diving in. The essential role early care plays in bolstering both health and economics is undeniable. And that is only a small part of what our early childhood workforce provides.

James Menzer · January 19, 2024
Early Childhood Community Coalition of Lake Co.
Antioch, Illinois, United States

I couldn't agree more. our elected officials need to connect the need for quality Childcare with a vibrant economy and young people's success.

Francis Wardle · January 19, 2024
University of Phoenix/ Red Rocks Community College
Denver, Colorado, United States

I certainly believe that the federal government needs to increase funding for childcare. However, I believe the states and local governments should also increase their investments. The state should provide money from the general fund, much as they do for schools. Funding just from the federal government has obvious risks (i.e. subject to unreasonable and inappropriate "guidelines".) I am also not inclined to support any effort to increase funding unless it is accompanied by clear and equal pay with k-12 teachers for everyone involved in the field (and not just those with college degrees).

Monica Jackson · January 19, 2024
Jackson Child Care
N Springfield, VA, United States

Child Care as Health Care: The article's central theme is that child care should be considered an integral part of healthcare. This viewpoint suggests that investing in child care is not just a matter of social policy but a fundamental aspect of public health.

Overall, the article argues for a shift in perspective regarding child care, viewing it as a societal responsibility with profound implications for health and well-being. It calls for short-term and long-term actions to address the current childcare challenges and promote the health and strength of families and communities.

My thoughts are in agreement with the following comments. “Childcare is Well Care! It is an essential service that supports parents, businesses, and the economy. It sustains an infrastructure that improves society's quality of life.

Childcare is not just about ensuring the health and safety of children; it is a critical service that extends beyond their well-being. It plays a vital role in expanding and enhancing the work sector, businesses, and the economy. By providing reliable and high-quality childcare services, working parents can continue contributing to the workforce, boosting businesses and the economy. Accessible and affordable childcare services also help create a more inclusive society and promote equal opportunities. Therefore, investing in childcare is an investment in our children's, and our nation's economy's future. "The early years are foundational learning years"!

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