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Early Care & Education

About Early Care & Education

Early care and education programs are crucial to a thriving economy, not only because they allow parents to work, but because the child care sector is large and purchases numerous goods and services. New economic development strategies toward enhancing child care access can improve child care financing and the business infrastructure associated with the child care sector.Additionally, significant investments in children’s well-being in the early years has enormous long-terms payoffs. Yet, quality early care and education supports in the U.S. are expensive and difficult to find, especially when compared with other developed nations.

Student parents make up 26 percent of community college students and many have young children, yet IWPR's research shows that child care available only meets a tiny fraction of the need. Improving child care access is not only about improving access to sources of care and education outside the home, but also requires increasing parents' ability to care for their own children. Significant investments in children's well-being in the early years has enormous long-term payoffs. IWPR has worked both national and state levels—in California, Kansas, Illinois, and the District of Columbia—to estimate the costs of implementing early care and education expanses. IWPR also developed a "how-to" manual demonstrating how other states can adapt the model to serve their specific policy needs.

IWPR’s work on Early Care and Education addresses:

  • Strategies for improving access to quality, affordable child care;
  • The need to integrate a range of family supports into a comprehensive early childhood system;
  • The economic development benefits of  strengthening the early childhood sector;
  • System-building approaches, and costs and benefits involved with early childhood expansions; and,
  • The importance of improving job quality among early childhood educators.


Education and Training, IWPR

Poverty, IWPR

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Latest Reports from IWPR

High Skill and Low Pay: The Economics of Child Care Work
by (January 1989)

In the midst of a debate over the cost and quality of child care and the appropriate public role in its provision, this paper documents the current situation of child care workers. Using available data from the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and numerous salary surverys conducted by a variety of groups across the country, it describes who child care workers are, in terms of their gender, race, age, and education; the job titles, occupations, and settings in which they work; and the wages and benefits they receive.

Preview not available

Wages of Salaries of Child Care Workers: The Economic and Social Implications of Raising Child Care Worker's Salaries
by Diana Pearce (March 1988)

Testimony before the Subcommittee on Children, Drugs, and Alcoholism, Committee on Labor and Human Resources, U.S. Sebate, Washington, DC. Describes who are the child care workers, their salaries, reasons the salaries are so low, and teh effects of low salaries. Available by mail in limited quantities. E-mail iwpr [at] iwpr [dot] org to place an order.

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