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In Mark Greenberg’s view, a national child care strategy should pursue four goals. Every parent who needs child care to get or keep work should be able to afford care without having to leave children in unhealthy or dangerous environments; all families should be able to place their children in settings that foster education and healthy development; parental choice should be respected; and a set of good choices should be available.

Attaining these goals, says Greenberg, requires revamping both federal child care subsidy programs and federal tax policy related to child care. Today subsidies are principally provided through a block grant structure in which states must restrict eligibility, access, or the extent of assistance because both federal and state funds are limited. Tax policy principally involves a modest nonrefundable credit that provides little or no assistance to poor and low-income families.

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