Monday, June 10

The Hell of American Day Care

Here's an interesting problem son. Govt's around the world are actually trying to reduce taxes and spend as the current level of spending is clearly unsustainable. More debt, borrowing from the future to spend in the present is starting to hit limits. So should we fund child care? The author talks about France but France is struggling with awesome amounts of debt. And it's social system creaks. Furthermore with such a great system France is useless at getting its people into work. 

Second aspect to remember is that having children is considered to be a choice. If you have children its expected that you are able to take care of them. Why should somebody else pay for your choices? I can understand low income, divorce etc etc but just like you wouldn't expect somebody else to pay for your vacation, the argument is that you have to have funds. 

But life isn't that simple and people will still have babies without the ability to pay or look after them. In my charity we find so many parents just useless at parenting at best and a threat to the kids at worst. 

So some element of child care has to be setup. Not a good choice. 



The Hell of American Day Care | New Republic


Mire looked down at her baby girl, Kendyll, who was curled up tight on a foldaway crib. “Night, night,” Kendyll had just murmured in her quiet, serious way. At 20 months, she was picking up all sorts of words, like “baby,” the name of the doll she kept nearby, and “Bryce,” the name of her big brother. She hadn’t slept much that night, and Mire thought about calling in late to work so Kendyll could get more rest. But it was only Mire’s second day at a new job she badly needed, as a receptionist at a Houston oil company. Mire, who was 30, with an open face and wide smile, was intent on making a good impression. The best she could do was give Kendyll an extra hour to nap and prepare some warm milk for her breakfast.

When Kendyll got up, Mire dressed her in a purple shirt that matched her own—purple was Kendyll’s favorite color—and put a pair of purple-striped stretch pants in her backpack. It was a challenge to get Kendyll to sit still for the hour it took to unbraid and re-braid her dark hair, and on such a hectic morning, Mire didn’t even try. At around 7 a.m., they got into the car and drove to Kendyll’s new day care.

The place was called “Jackie’s Child Care,” but there wasn’t anyone named Jackie who worked there. The proprietor was Jessica Tata, an energetic 22-year-old registered with the state of Texas to look after children in the wood-paneled house she rented on a quiet, middle-class street. Her regulars included Elias, a chunky 16-month-old with a bowlegged walk, and 19-month-old Elizabeth, who always jumped into her mom’s lap when it was time to drop her off. As Mire walked back to her car that warm February morning in 2011, she noticed Kendyll hovering at the entrance—a little sleepy, a little curious, gazing at the scene inside. Mire felt uneasy about leaving, especially since it was only Kendyll’s second day there and she didn’t know Tata that well. Shortly after, she called Tata to check in, and Tata reassured her that Kendyll was doing just fine.

Just after lunch, Mire’s cell phone lit up. The number was Tata’s, but she didn’t recognize the voice. “There’s been a fire,” a woman said. “They’ve taken all the kids to the hospital, for smoke, as a precaution.” Mire tried not to panic; she clutched at the word “precaution.” Her phone buzzed again, this time with a text message from a friend: “What day care did you say Kendyll goes to?” Mire called the friend, who was watching live TV coverage of a burning Houston day care. Black smoke was billowing from windows and holes in the roof; firemen were running out of the house, cradling limp babies in their arms. One little girl had braided hair and a purple shirt, her friend told her. She looked like Kendyll. Mire ran to her car. I can’t panic, she kept telling herself as she drove through heavy traffic and later past ambulances and fire engines. I just have to get there.

Trusting your child with someone else is one of the hardest things that a parent has to do—and in the United States, it’s harder still, because American day care is a mess. About 8.2 million kids—about 40 percent of children under five—spend at least part of their week in the care of somebody other than a parent. Most of them are in centers, although a sizable minority attend home day cares like the one run by Jessica Tata. In other countries, such services are subsidized and well-regulated. In the United States, despite the fact that work and family life has changed profoundly in recent decades, we lack anything resembling an actual child care system. Excellent day cares are available, of course, if you have the money to pay for them and the luck to secure a spot. But the overall quality is wildly uneven and barely monitored, and at the lower end, it’s Dickensian.

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