The bipartisan reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant program will make overdue improvements to a key child-care subsidy program—but it may not do much to ease the crisis of child care affordability in the United States.
Many discussions of Debra Harrell, the South Carolina mother who was jailed for “abandoning” her 9-year-old daughter at a park, fail to mention how limited child-care options are for low-income parents, especially those who are single.
The Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act, introduced by Sens. Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jeanne Shaheen, and Barbara Boxer, would increase the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by nearly three times the current maximum benefit, and would close a loophole that leaves many low-income families ineligible.
Child-care agencies that contract with the state will now have to ensure that children are not pressured into participating in religious worship or instruction.
The media has recently latched on to the idea of the “teen mom,” elevating her to star status—both in dramas and on reality TV. These shows feature teen pregnancy, but they do so in an unrealistic way that fetishizes and glamorizes it. The stories of the girls I spoke with at The Care Center are much different from the ones shown in half-hour snippets on TV and splashed across tabloid magazines.
If we still need more evidence that reproductive freedom is an economic issue, the challenge of affording child care is ripe for discussion.
“Fetal pain” will be the state anti-choice legislation goal of the year; the search for child care in one of the nation’s most expensive markets; HIV is spreading in Afghanistan; and a conservative app gets the ax from Apple.
While being sensitive towards the demands on women with regard to parenting, the new law does little to promote the notion of child-rearing as a shared responsibility.
An independent group of economists rates the candidates during the financial crisis on ten critical issues for women. McCain barely passes, Obama scores high.
When it comes to motherhood, Canada may offer some benefits and social programs that American mothers envy, but not still not enough to make having children accessible to all women.