Idea for Action Summary
Quality childcare often costs more than families can afford, and many parents cannot afford to stay at home and care for a young child.
Parents are constantly challenged to balance demands of caring for children with providing for their families. With few options for childcare, babies and toddler are either taken to work, or left in the unregulated care of older siblings, friends or relatives. Due to rapid urbanisation, a large number of children live in cities, far away from their extended families and thus without access to these networks. Given what we know about the amount of brain development and learning that occurs in the earliest years, no parent wants to place their baby or toddler in the care of someone who will simply ‘watch’ their children. Yet affordable, accessible quality childcare centres can be few and far between. These pressures can be greater on single-parent families, and harder still for low-income households. Additionally, women and girls often bear the burden of childcare, which can hold them back from advancing in other areas, such as education and career. Learn more about the global childcare challenge here.
Governments can help parents and young children alike by introducing standards for quality and safety in childcare, making state and city laws consistent and creating affordable quality childcare options accessible to families everywhere. Government efforts to address childcare challenges must take into account two key factors: out-of-pocket costs to families, and flexibility in timing to allow parents and other caregivers time for commuting and working.