RELEASE: Improving Access to Child Care Would Fortify Women’s Foothold in the Economy

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new report demonstrating how limited access to affordable child care jeopardizes parents’ ability to stay and thrive in the workforce and how these outcomes affect mothers’ ability to work. The report builds on a growing body of research that finds that child care is critical to both families’ financial security and our country’s economic prosperity.

Using data from the Early Childhood Program Participation Survey, as well as data from recent polling conducted for the Center for American Progress, the report finds:

  • Half of families have difficulty in finding a child care program—especially low-income families, families of color, and those with infants and toddlers.
  • The consequences of not finding child care are acutely severe for American women: Among parents who were unable to find a child care program, the maternal employment rate dropped 12 percentage points. Notably, the employment rate for fathers did not change when families experienced difficulty finding child care.
  • With better access to child care, parents overwhelmingly say that they would take steps to join the workforce and increase their earnings. Nearly 1 in 3 unemployed parents say that they would look for a job; 42 percent of women say that they would look for a higher-paying job; and nearly 30 percent of women would pursue additional education or training.

“Lack of access to affordable child care is fundamentally disrupting parents’ ability to stay in the workforce—and that’s especially true for American mothers,” said Leila Schochet, policy analyst for Early Childhood Policy at the Center for American Progress. “This report finds that quality, affordable child care could enable more mothers to work and strengthen families’ economic security, underscoring why child care must be central in the economic policy discussion.”

Please click here to read “The Child Care Crisis Is Keeping Women Out of the Workforce” by Leila Schochet.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202.741.6292.