Wellesley Centers for Women
Advancing Early Childhood Care and Education Policy in the U.S.
While not always a pressing domestic priority for all Americans, early childhood care and education (ECCE) for young children has been in the forefront for many working families for decades. In order to work or go to school or training, parents need someone to watch their young children before they are old enough to go to school. Sixty-one percent of children under the age of five are in some type of regular ECCE arrangement, and ECEE serves dual purposes. It not only allows parents to be employed or be in school or training, it also helps prepare children for school and academic success—this is especially true for children from families with low incomes. Even quality afterschool care or out-of-school-time care for school-age children can be hard to obtain. Finding the kind of care mothers and fathers want for their children and then learning they can’t afford it has broken many parents’ hearts and budgets. What are they to do?