President Biden signed an executive order on Tuesday directing federal agencies to identify and implement strategies to cut childcare costs and make services more accessible. The recent action expands on measures introduced earlier in the year, which required semiconductor manufacturers to offer childcare services for workers in order to access a $39 billion funding pool.
Many have praised the initiative. But notably, it also falls short of previous pledges to subsidize childcare for low-income Americans and establish a nationwide universal preschool program.
Families on the Edge
The new executive order explicitly addresses childcare, but this measure may not give struggling families enough relief.
According to a recent survey, childcare costs have already become a significant burden for many households. Well over one-third of parents witnessed a jump in related expenses over the past year.
Parents are also spending around 26% of their household income on childcare. And around 34% of these parents report making cuts to their budget in order to afford it.
Price of Parenthood
The high cost of childcare doesn’t just strain parents’ budgets. It can also impact their careers.
Educated women in particular are leaving the workforce because they are unable or unwilling to allocate more than 25% of their paycheck towards childcare costs. As a result, this issue has far-reaching consequences for individuals, families, and society as a whole, underlining the importance of addressing the affordability crisis.
There is much more at stake in these childcare troubles than simply money. At the beginning of the year, some 4.5 million Americans reportedly remained unemployed after leaving the workforce to care for their kids.
Many parents will welcome the White House’s most recent measure to address it. But the work of creating more affordable, accessible childcare solutions is ongoing.
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