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U.S. states have gotten millions of dollars in federal aid for child care, the first major infusion in decades, but only a handful are using it to overhaul their child-care systems, reported The Washington Post on Monday.
"The federal government had spent an unprecedented amount of money, but lawmakers had left it up to state leaders to decide how to spend those billions," said the report.
While U.S. parents can rely on the public education system to provide free schooling for kids 5 and older, the daycare industry runs largely without aid. The result, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said last year, is "a textbook example of a broken market."
To make things worse, "more than 111,000 people left their child-care jobs during the pandemic, a tenth of the workforce," leaving "at least 6.5 million families across the nation without stable child care," the newspaper cited census data from the spring of 2021.
The report added that the United States has historically invested fewer public dollars in early childhood care relative to the gross domestic product than almost any developed country.