Child care

Because children’s experiences in the first five years of life establish the foundation for ongoing learning and progress, high-quality early care and education for all children is critical. Unfortunately, the American system for the provision of early care and education is deeply fragmented and severely under-resourced, which results in vastly uneven quality of and access to services. Quality child care access and affordability is a particular hardship for low- and moderate-income families, exacerbating inequities that can then persist for generations. That is why policymakers at every level of government need to prioritize investments in the child care system the same way they do infrastructure investments, because an effective child and early education system supports not just families but the economy and society overall.

At the same time, the United States lacks adequate national policies to support parents’ ability to remain in the labor force after having children, many parents—mostly mothers—drop out. This has important ramifications for their future work prospects, including their career path and earnings potential, which in turn have implications for family income levels, family well-being, and the economy as a whole. Lastly, it should not be overlooked that nearly 2 million adults, mostly women, are currently paid to provide early care and education services to more than 12 million children across the country. If these jobs were properly rewarded, they could be a desirable form of employment in every community. All of these challenges can be addressed with bold state, local, and federal investments in America’s children and families.

Publications

New York State Economic and Fiscal Outlook FY 2019

  • February 15, 2018
  • Fiscal Policy Institute
  • Ron Deutsch, David Dyssegaard Kallick, Jonas Shaende, Cyierra Roldan, Shamier Settle, Melissa Krug, Brent Kramer, and Xiao Cheng

The Trump Administration’s tax law, looming federal budget cuts, multi-billion-dollar state budget deficits, glaring unmet human and physical infrastructure needs throughout the state…this year’s New York State budget negotiations are taking shape against a worrisome and uncertain backdrop. The president and congress are threatening to dismantle decades-old federal entitlement programs, make drastic cuts to programs that help millions of struggling New Yorkers, and create a hostile environment for the state’s four and a half million immigrants. The state has an important role to play to help make life better for all New Yorkers—and we must provide protections to our residents even if the federal government won’t. Based on last year’s congressional budget resolutions and what lies on the horizon in terms of cuts to federal programs, we know that things are going to change, and likely not for the better. The policy ideas advanced by Washington thus far do not bode well for New York State. While New York sends more in tax dollars to Washington than we get back, over one-third, or $57 billion, of New York State’s FY 2019 All Funds Budget is comprised of federal funds. The potential for substantial cuts in domestic spending poses gargantuan challenges for the state budget and budgets of local government entities throughout the state.

People-Powered Prosperity

The most prosperous states are anchored by an educated and healthy workforce and offer opportunities for people to innovate and contribute. Moving into the 2018 statewide elections and subsequent governor’s administration, Georgia leaders can seize a golden opportunity to chart a better economic course. People-Powered Prosperity details a new vision for how state lawmakers can pursue that strategy and ways they can responsibly pay for it. The report outlines a public investment plan aimed at four strategic goals, which include eight specific policy recommendations such as targeted funding hikes for public schools and an ambitious ramp-up of assistance to help families afford child care. We also present a case to show how Georgia can afford to raise $1 billion in new annual revenues as a meaningful down payment on the strategy, a shared investment of reasonable scope.

The Economic Benefits of High-Quality Early Care

All children should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. At the same time, parents should be able to go to work with the comfort that their children are safe, nurtured, and learning. For many families, child care is a crucial component of this vision.

Early care and education programs have proven to be the most effective policies for improving the lifelong outcomes for children. Attending high-quality early care programs leads to higher educational achievement in later years while reducing expensive social ills, like chronic health problems or crime. These improved outcomes translate to a direct positive impact on the economy as a whole in the form of increased wages and productivity, and lower spending on social services.

When Work is Not Enough: Toward Better Policy to Support Wisconsin’s Working Families

  • May 11, 2017
  • COWS
  • Laura Dresser, Javier Rodriguez, and Mel Meder.

In Wisconsin, policy makers seem to increasingly assume that work, and work alone, can provide a decent standard of living. However, working families continue to face a slew of challenges – low wages, inadequate benefits, insufficient hours – generated by the very jobs that are supposed to be the answer. This report highlights the disconnect between state policies and the realities of Wisconsin families working in jobs at or near the poverty line.