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Access to Affordable Early Care and Education

In America, only 1 in 7 eligible children actually receive subsidies to cover child care costs, and half of all Americans live in neighborhoods classified as child care deserts—areas with little to no access to quality care. Without congressionally funded access to affordable, high-quality child care, families, children, and early educators face the consequences of high costs of care and low wages. This is why the Early Childhood Policy team develops and promotes bold policy solutions to the child care crisis that will expand access and affordability, bringing an inclusive and racially equitable vision to life for all children and families.

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States Are Taking Action To Address the Child Care Crisis Article
An empty classroom is pictured at a New Glarus, Wisconsin, child care center.

States Are Taking Action To Address the Child Care Crisis

Federal COVID-19 relief funding for child care stabilization grants ended in September 2023, but a number of states have stepped up this year to address the child care needs of working families.

Anna Lovejoy

Building a Comprehensive State Child Care Agenda Past Event

Building a Comprehensive State Child Care Agenda

Join CAP's Early Childhood Policy team to learn how the recently released data dashboard and state policymaker toolkit can be used to increase investments in child care and early learning programs.

Data Dashboard: An Overview of Child Care and Early Learning in the United States Report
Preschool students in Washington, D.C., are joined by the interim chancellor for District of Columbia Public Schools.

Data Dashboard: An Overview of Child Care and Early Learning in the United States

The Center for American Progress has developed a data dashboard that allows users to explore national- and state-level data trends on a range of child care and early learning topics, including access to affordable care, the child care workforce, Head Start, and exclusionary discipline policies.

Related Resources on Child Care and Early Learning Article
A 3-year-old walks to a park with her family in Rockville, Maryland.

Related Resources on Child Care and Early Learning

This webpage offers a list of resources that can help make the case for investments in child care and early learning at the state level.

the CAP Early Childhood Policy Team

The Child Care Sector Is Still Struggling To Hire Workers Article
A teacher leads a morning warm-up session for young children in Frederick, Maryland.

The Child Care Sector Is Still Struggling To Hire Workers

Amid a tight labor market and lack of sustainable funding, the child care sector’s shortage of good jobs persists, exacerbating its challenge to attract and retain workers.

Rose Khattar, Maureen Coffey

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Related Priorities

Tackling Climate Change and Environmental Injustice

Tackling Climate Change and Environmental Injustice

We pursue climate action that meets the crisis’s urgency, creates good-quality jobs, benefits disadvantaged communities, and restores U.S. credibility on the global stage.

Restoring Social Trust in Democracy

Restoring Social Trust in Democracy

Democracy is under attack at home and abroad. We must act to ensure it is accessible to all, accountable, and can serve as a force of good.

Strengthening Health

Strengthening Health

We work to strengthen public health systems and improve health care coverage, access, and affordability.

Building an Economy for All

Building an Economy for All

Economic growth must be built on the foundation of a strong and secure middle class so that all Americans benefit from growth.

Advancing Racial Equity and Justice

Advancing Racial Equity and Justice

We apply a racial equity lens in developing and advancing policies that aim to root out entrenched systemic racism to ensure everyone has an opportunity to thrive.

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