Child Care, COVID-19, and our Economic Future
Abstract: Child care is important for cultivating the future workforce, and it also ensures that working parents of today can participate in the economy, helping to achieve the Federal Reserve’s mandate for full employment. While child care in the U.S. is a piece of critical infrastructure, it is often invisible and undervalued. Straddling the lines between parenting, education, and small business, child care does not get the full attention and resources of any particular domain, and its contribution to the economy has been overlooked. Longstanding and widespread constraints in the child care sector are compounded by the current COVID-19 crisis, heightening the urgency of addressing structural issues in the child care ecosystem that limit the ability of low-income working parents to access affordable, quality care for their kids. As child care businesses struggle to weather the crisis, this critical infrastructure for workforce and community development will likely be severely limited. This may hamper economic recovery, and the implications of widespread losses of child care will likely fall disproportionately on women and people of color, widening existing inequities. The COVID-19 crisis represents an opportunity to reassess and reimagine this vital sector of our economy. The goal of this report is to draw attention to the importance of child care to the economy, highlight shortfalls and challenges in this sector prior to COVID-19, and explore new issues that threaten the viability of the sector in the context of the pandemic. Finally, the brief highlights the role for new and existing actors in the private and public sectors in creating a resilient child care ecosystem that will enable the full potential of our economy.
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Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Part of Series: Community Development Research Brief
Publication Date: 2020-09-29