Childcare: A Social Problem – A Social Need

Today most parents work while trying to raise children. Most people work more than 40 hours per week, and are receiving the lowest pay in decades. This means childcare is a major problem for working families, and especially for working women. As a result, many children don’t receive the care and attention that they need.

Since the 1990’s the average costs of childcare have nearly doubled. For families below the poverty level, they spend over 30 percent of their income on childcare. In 28 states, yearly childcare for two kids costs more than a parent earns from a 40-hour per week job at minimum wage.

The majority of the responsibility falls on women. Mothers do the hardest work, cooking, cleaning, and tending to other physical needs, along with educational help. Working moms, on top of 40-hour work weeks, spend an additional 58 hours on household and childcare jobs, along with educational help while fathers spend the most time playing with the kids.

It should be the responsibility of the whole society to raise our children. All children should be able to grow up with permanent access to quality care. Childcare does not have to be the sole burden of parents. Being a parent would no longer have to mean a life of struggle and the feeling of being unable to meet our children’s needs. We could organize collective daycare centers to take good care of children. The idea of the family can expand again, far beyond just two parents and siblings, and include all relatives, friends and neighbors – the people we regularly share our lives with. All of our children can become the joy and responsibility of the whole society.

In this society it is often said that children are the future. But we need a society that actually allows children to have a future. That is why if we want the best for our children, the best for ourselves, a life full of possibilities, we need a different kind of society, one where we – the working class, the majority – are the ones running the society in our own interests. We need socialism, a society run collectively in the interests of all people.