School’s Out, Pressure’s On: The Scramble for Child Care

When schools close for holidays, bad weather or in-service days, many working parents are sent scrambling to find child care. This recent article from the Washington Post (“No school again? Parents juggle child care and work amid frequent disruptions.”) reveals the tension and pressure families of all socioeconomic backgrounds face when school is not in session — how to best care for their children and keep work/life commitments relatively balanced.

While this article focuses on parents of elementary schoolers, the same challenge rings true in the early childhood space, where the Foundation is working to ensure both robust education for children and workforce support for parents. The child is always at the center of our work, and — as the child’s most important support system — so is the family. This is why we are invested in Paid Family Leave, which protects parents’ jobs and the critical time period for parent-infant bonding, as well as raising the minimum wage for child care workers, which improves care quality and creates greater stability in the early childhood workforce. These and other issues are being addressed by our Birth-to-Three Policy Alliance as part of a comprehensive effort to improve early childhood in the District of Columbia.