Access to affordable and reliable child care is critical for working families, offering parents better job stability and overall economic security. But thinking about child care as a benefit to working parents without considering the potential impact on children is not just a wasted opportunity—it also potentially poses risks to a child’s healthy development. Quality early learning and care is vital for children, particularly those from low-income families, to achieve success in school and throughout their lives. Unfortunately, in the United States, less than half of the children living in poverty have access to the high-quality early childhood programs that could dramatically improve their lives. Research shows both short- and long-term benefits for children who attend high-quality programs, including lasting gains in both IQ and social-emotional skills. These gains prepare individuals to earn higher wages as adults, live healthier lives, avoid incarceration, raise stronger families, and contribute to society. Quality matters, and low-quality care can be detrimental to children, families, and society.
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