Between A Rock and A Hard Place: Race and Child Care in Mississippi

Author: Jean V. Hardisty, Ph.D.

SKU: WCW18

Year Published: 2013

Publication Type: Special Report

“Between a Rock and a Hard Place” explains how structural racism preserves much of Mississippi’s pre-civil rights power structure and the racial inequality of resources and access. Structural racism impacts subsidized child care for poor and low-income women, especially through shortcomings in the state’s service delivery. Here, as so often, the state disproportionately underserves poor, Black, single mothers. The report also addresses the link between poverty and child care. It would seem that child care is not at the center of poverty, but it is certainly at the center of leaving poverty. Research over several decades has taught us that the most important factor in raising a family out of poverty is education for the adult wage earner, in this case a low-income single mother. If she cannot access decent quality child care, a living wage will not be within her reach. Congress has recognized the role of education and training and built it into “welfare reform,” but gives the recipient a maximum of five years to complete the process of obtaining what she needs to become self-sufficient.

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