Once Upon a Time, There Was Free Child Care in America
Believe it or not, there was a period when the U.S. government funded “on-site, affordable, education-based child care 24 hours a day.” But would this sort of service be possible to implement in today’s America?
World War Two marked the first and only time in US history that the government funded childcare for any working mother, regardless of her income. The programmes were created as women entered the workforce in droves to help with the war effort.
The Kaiser Company Shipyards in Oregon and California were at the vanguard of progressive childcare during World War Two. They hired skilled teachers and some offered pre-made meals for mums to take home and heat up. Some even offered personal shoppers to help women juggle home life and the building of combat ships…”I don’t understand why it hasn’t come back,” says Natalie Fousekis, a historian and author of Demanding Childcare: Women’s Activism and the Politics of Welfare, 1940-1971. “I understand the political forces have prevented it. The studies I have seen and the studies during and after World War Two and today show that investing in good childcare with an educational component to it pays off in all kinds of ways.”
If you ask single mothers trying to make it on a low wage job, she says, their biggest concern is childcare. “It adds to the haves and have nots in this country,” Fousekis says…The lack of quality, affordable childcare in the United States heated up since news emerged last year that tech giants Apple and Facebook will pay up to $20,000 for female employees to freeze their eggs if they want or need to delay motherhood.
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi ZapataWait, before you go…