High-Quality Childcare Leads to Increased Rates of Success
All parents know that one of the most oppressive child-rearing costs there is the cost of childcare. In fact, many parents are forced to stay at home to care for children, or choose lower-quality care based on a lack of economic means for higher-quality care.
A new study led by James J. Heckman of the University of Chicago reveals an important discovery about the impact of high-quality childcare on children, their mothers, and society as a whole. The results of the discovery are a powerful argument for state-funded childcare, particularly for low-income families.
The Study: The Effects of High-Quality Childcare
Heckman’s study looked at two programs in North Carolina, both of which offered completely free, fulltime childcare to children ages eight weeks to five years. All children who received care were low-income, most were black, and most lived with a single mother.
The study compared children in these programs with children in a control group, who were kept at home, or were placed in childcare programs of lower quality.
When the male children in the study were age 30, the results were startling: those who were in the control group earned an average of $19,800 less than did those who received high-quality childcare. For the female children, the women who had received high-quality care in their youth had an average of two years more education than did those in the control group. As the men aged, the men in the high-quality care group were ⅓ less likely to use drugs than those in the control group. Mothers of children who received high-quality care also earned more during the years that their children were in preschool and receiving care.
The effects on society as a whole were measurable too. Obviously, a more educated, higher income-earning, and less criminal populace is great for all. But the study found that in terms of measurable benefits, the high-quality childcare returned $7.30 for every dollar that it spent (the total cost of the programs were $18,514 per student per year).
Childcare in the United States – Not a Priority
Despite the fact that high quality childcare may be great for those who participate in the care and society at large, the United States continues to spend very little on ensuring that children get the care they both need and deserve. To be sure, The New York Times, which reported on the study cited above extensively, cites data that reveals that the United States only spends 0.4 percent of gross domestic product on childcare, which is the lowest level amongst all industrialized countries.
And while President Trump has called for childcare spending rebates for families, and childcare tax deductions for parents, his proposal falls short of what’s necessary. The Tax Policy Center reports that for families who earn under $40,000 – those who truly need childcare assistance the most – the cost savings proposed by Trump would be a mere $20 or less per year. At this point, the government is failing to address that which is clearly an important issue for families and the country alike.
At Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., we are continuing to monitor any updates in this story as they may arise. And if you need assistance in a negligence case in Philadelphia, don’t hesitate to contact us today for professional help.