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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K034: How Good Child Care Helps Mothers, and the Men They Raise優質托兒照顧 造福母子兩代

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日英語跟讀 Ep.K034: How Good Child Care Helps Mothers, and the Men They Raise

As many American parents know, hiring care for young children during the workday is punishingly expensive, costing the typical family about a third of its income.

Helping parents pay for that care would be expensive for society, too. Yet recent studies show that of any policy aimed to help struggling families, aid for high-quality care has the biggest economic payoff for parents and their children — and even their grandchildren. It has the biggest positive effect on women’s employment and pay. It’s especially helpful for low-income families, because it can propel generations of children toward increased earnings, better jobs, improved health, more education and decreased criminal activity as adults.



Affordable care for children under 5, long a goal of Democrats, is now being championed by Ivanka Trump.

The Department of Health and Human Services says child care should cost 7 percent of a family’s income at most — but 42 percent of families who buy care for young children spend considerably more than that, according to census data analyzed by Beth Mattingly at the University of New Hampshire. A report by New America and put the average cost of child care in the United States at $16,514 a year.



It’s children with parents who can least afford high-quality care who benefit most from it, research has found. That is because affluent children have better alternatives. For well-off children, some studies have linked day care, especially low-quality care early in life, to achievement and behavior problems.

A powerful new study — which demonstrated long-term results by following children from birth until age 35 — found that high-quality care during the earliest years can influence whether both mothers and children born into disadvantage lead more successful lives. The study was led by James J. Heckman, a Nobel laureate economist at the University of Chicago.



“They’re engaged more in the workforce, they’re now active participants of society, they’re more educated, they have higher skills,” Heckman said. “So what we’ve done is promoted mobility across generations.”

The study analyzed two well-known experimental programs in North Carolina, which offered free, full-time care to low-income children age 8 weeks to 5 years, most of whom were black and lived with a single mother. The children in the control group were at home or in lower-quality programs.

The mothers of those in the experimental program earned more when the children were in preschool, and the difference was still there two decades later.




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