Build Back Better Investments in Child Care Assistance and Preschool Would Serve Over 8 Million Children Across the United States, Per Report

The child care investments in the Build Back Better agenda would subsidize child care for more than 8 million children through both child care assistance and preschool, according to a new report from the National Women’s Law Center, Century Foundation, and the Center on Law and Social Policy.

In addition to allowing more parents — especially women — to enter the workforce, which would boost overall productivity, the investments would raise wages for caregivers. The report adds to the mounting evidence that the Build Back Better investments will strengthen the economy, create millions of jobs, and reduce inequities. An April study from the UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute found that investing in care would create over 5 million American jobs over the next ten years.

  • “The infusion of new money Democrats have in mind is supposed to do more than reduce the effective price of child care. Another big goal is to improve its quality― in part, by raising wages for the caregivers, who today make less than parking attendants do. The hope is that higher compensation would make it easier to attract more talented, qualified workers into child care and then to keep them from leaving for higher-paying jobs.”
  • The other big goal of the child care proposal is to bolster the economy, in part by freeing up parents ― especially women ― who otherwise would have to reduce their hours or stay out of the workforce altogether, even though they would prefer to be working outside the home.”
  • “‘What isn’t always measured or seen is the invisible labor and burden asked of so many women who have been trying to hold it together,’ Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center, told HuffPost. ‘It’s a real cost, in short term and in the long term, on their careers and on their financial security, for themselves and their families.’”

Read the full HuffPost article here.

The investments in President Biden’s full Build Back Better agenda will create millions of jobs and expand access to child care and preschool:

Investments in care for children, the elderly, and the disabled 

  • Investing in care work, just like investing in physical infrastructure and clean energy, boosts the economy and creates new jobs.

  • Going big on care infrastructure investments could support the creation of 3 million new jobs.

  • Social care investments have the potential to generate twice as many jobs as infrastructure spending and 50% more jobs than green energy development.

  • Investing in the care economy, in turn, produces widespread benefits in the restaurant and retail sectors as caregivers spend their disposable income.

  • Increasing access to child care will help women return to their own careers. An investment of 2% of GDP in the care industry has the potential to reduce the gender gap in employment by half in the United States.

  • A lack of affordable child care has become a barrier to work for many parents, especially mothers. Equal access to high-quality child care and preschool would increase GDP by $551 billion by allowing more parents to seek and keep their jobs.

“Public investment in care would allow millions of family caregivers who have left the labor market, reduced their hours, or lost their jobs in 2020 to return to work, strengthening overall economic activity and ensuring that a generation of women’s labor market gains do not disappear.”

— Time’s Up

Investments in universal pre-kindergarten

  • Universal pre-k will improve children’s development, help parents return to the workforce, and boost the economy.

  • That includes $81.6 billion in government budget benefits, $108.4 billion in increased compensation of workers, and $114.7 billion in reduced costs to individual people from better health and less crime and child abuse.

  • The same study found that by 2050, universal pre-k would yield $8.90 in benefits for every $1 invested.

“[Universal pre-k] would boost educational achievement, improve economic growth rates, and raise standards of living across the income spectrum. It also would strengthen the economy’s competitiveness long into the future while simultaneously easing a host of fiscal, social, and health problems.”

— Washington Center for Equitable Growth