Giving Compass' Take:

· Grover Whitehurst examines the costs of early childhood care in America and suggests that the government provide vouchers for lower-income families.

· Why is child care so expensive? How does the cost vary based on income? 

· Learn how child care could serve as a potential economic driver.

I am friends with a married couple in their early 30s, each a well-paid professional. The due date for their second child was Sept. 1, exactly the cutoff date for school entry where they live. The birth was going to be by C-section so they could schedule the delivery within a window of a couple of days on either side of the due date.

If they chose Sept. 2 or later, their child would be the oldest in his class when starting public school (a very good thing from their perspective). But, compared with a delivery on or before Sept. 1, they would have to pay for another full year of daycare. They agonized over the decision.

The real angst of my economically fortunate friends pales in comparison to the financial challenges and difficult choices faced by parents who don’t have much discretionary income but need out-of-home care for a young child. They, like nearly all parents, want their child to be in a safe and developmentally supportive environment when left in the care of others. But there are limits to both what they can spend and the options for care where they live. Their choices affect their children, themselves and the family unit. We know less about this than we should, starting with simple facts about how much people in different circumstances are spending on child care.

Read the full article about child care by Grover Whitehurst at The Hechinger Report.