May 04, 2021

Boston Globe: Elizabeth Warren on why we need universal child care now

In an essay adapted from her new book, the senator says the pandemic made it clear: The economy depends on child care and caregivers.

In early April 2020, just as wave after wave of coronavirus cases were hitting the United States and hospitals in hot spots were worried about being overrun with sick and dying people, I set up a conference call with a big group of Massachusetts nurses. They were working long hours, there were no known COVID-19 treatments, and they were watching their patients die alone. I’d also heard terrible stories about the shortage of face masks and other protective gear. Let’s be clear: If nurses can’t do their jobs, then the whole health care system breaks down and all of America is at risk.

I thanked the nurses and said I agreed with everyone in our country who had been calling them “heroes.” There were some polite responses, and then I asked the obvious question: What do you need so you can do your jobs? The first answer: child care. Another chimed in, saying, Yeah, we need child care. And then the dam broke, with the nurses talking over each other. The always-tricky and always-stressful task of arranging child care had become so much harder exactly at the moment when the need for these parents to be in the workforce was at its most desperate.

Their employers saw the problem as well. And the same was true for other employers who were trying to keep their people on the front lines so that, say, grocery stores could stay open or bus lines would run. One in five of those who couldn’t work cited child care as the reason. Without adequate child care, an economy that was already under great strain faced the very real possibility of breaking down entirely.


Read full article here.

By:  Senator Elizabeth Warren
Source: Boston Globe