The COVID-19 pandemic brought chaos and devastation to our nation’s child care system, and with it, the lives of children, families, providers, and early childhood educators. As many have said, the challenges experienced in families and communities were not caused by the pandemic. They are a direct result of poor policy and investment choices our country has been making for decades – choices that reflect our nation’s racist and sexist beliefs about the worth of early care and education, who should do this work, and whose responsibility it is to secure child care that is responsive to the needs of young children and their families. It is no surprise that the impacts of the pandemic fell disproportionately on providers, educators, families, and children in communities that have been marginalized because of their racial and/or economic background.
If our policy choices created the vulnerabilities and inequities we witnessed in the child care system during the pandemic, we can undo them and put in place stronger policies and systems. To do that, we cannot continue to tinker around the edges and settle for marginal improvements. We need to mount sustained advocacy campaigns that demand a more ambitious and bolder future.
Child Care NEXT will fund up to 5 states that are ready to take this on.
At the core, Child Care NEXT will support these states to: