Monday, December 22, 2008
Parents Foregoing Day Care in a Bad Economy
Yet more evidence that the US needs more government involvement in day care. The Washington Post yesterday reported that more parents are pulling their children out of day care because they can't afford it. Squeezed on All Sides, Parents Forego Day Care: Education, Safety Sacrificed in Fiscal Crunch Instead, they are leaving their children in potentially unsafe situations such as staying home alone or in unregulated day care. The negligence of this country with regard to children with working parents is astounding. It's sink or swim, everyone's left to their own, when the price of day care is astronomical. According to the article, even parents who get subsidies for day care are increasingly unable to afford it. (The article was somewhat vague on the source of these subsidies, which I wasn't even aware existed. Not sure if they're from city, county, state or federal government.) The health, safety and education of children should be a national priority, not something left to chance or the vagaries of the marketplace. Other industrialized countries find a way for society as a whole to bear the cost of children and not leave it to individual families. On the one hand, yes, children can be seen as an expensive and unnecessary accessory, but at the same time, they are the future. Improving their lives is an investment in the future, not to mention guaranteeing basic safety while parents are working. I hope the Obama administration plans to put some energy into solving our country's drastic work/life problems.