Quality early care and education are truly gifts that will keep on giving, not only to mothers, but to all of us. We’re not saying that it’s only important to mothers; fathers need and want this too. However, there has been much research on its impact on mothers, especially single mothers . According to the Center for American Progress , “...although mothers are now the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American households with children, women spend more than twice as much time as men providing primary care to children. And as more and more households are led by lower-income single mothers, this economic instability is also having a dire impact on growing numbers of American children.” The Center also highlighted the the impact on mothers today in an article  stating, "There is a great deal of empirical evidence that shows how higher child care costs have a negative impact on mothers’ employment. Mothers are more likely to leave employment and less likely to start new jobs when the costs of child care are high."
The subject is also timely due to the recent sequester that will result in major cuts to child care assistance and Head Start programs across the country. According to Think Progress , “70,000 children will be cut from Head Start and Early Head Start programs due to the eliminated funding for the program” when sequestration takes effect. The National Women’s Law Center  states that “The across-the-board cuts implemented under the sequester are undermining critical supports for children and families, including child care assistance provided through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). CCDBG helps low-income families afford the reliable child care that parents need to work and that children need to grow and learn.” It’s also important to consider how the sequester will impact the quality of care, which a recent article by The New Republic  has shown to be questionable.
Why is early care and education so important for all of us?
- “High-quality early care and education (ECE) programs promote positive child outcomes, allow parents to work, and contribute to the local economy. ” (Taryn W. Morrissey & Mildred E. Warner, Cornell University)
- When parents have affordable, quality child care, they are more productive at work.  (Jocelyn Mazurkiewicz K.C. Wagner, Cornell University)
- “Using standard measures of child care quality, researchers found that child care quality was related to language and cognitive development, even after they controlled for family selection factors such as socioeconomic status, maternal education, parenting, or family structure… ” (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child care and Greg J. Duncan, Northwestern University)
- Children who attend high-quality early learning programs “are more likely to do well in school, find good jobs, and succeed in their careers than those who don’t .” (Megan State, The White House)
While quality early care and education should be a priority for all concerned with the future of the United States, a recent article in the The Atlantic  suggests that child care is an issue that should be of particular importance to feminists and a priority, but may not be. Has child care been marginalized within feminism?