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Crisis & Solutions

Today’s childcare crisis: How we got here and how we're working together to create solutions.

Understanding the childcare crisis starts here...

Families in the United States spend over $100 billion on paid childcare every year, and that doesn't even account for the nearly $1.5 trillion in invisible labor that parents, grandparents, and others provide annually. Yet childcare continues to be costly, time-consuming, and stressful. Childcare centers are closing down at an alarming rate, forcing parents to settle for substandard care; to quit their own jobs, or spend time they don’t have organizing and hosting playdates, which rarely provides the full coverage they need. 


While government subsidies and other benefits are critical, families need more than what the government alone can provide. This is especially true for marginalized communities that are under-resourced and overlooked. Families need a safety net that is reliable and resilient.

Childcare is too expensive

The cost of childcare has skyrocketed, putting enormous financial strain on parents struggling to afford quality childcare. In over half of U.S. states, full-time childcare for an infant costs more than college tuition. What, then, are parents supposed to do? They’re forced to make challenging choices, like deciding between advancing their careers or staying home with their children. Some have to opt for subpar childcare services just to keep within their budget. This untenable situation underscores the necessity for more childcare alternatives that are not only budget-friendly, but that also provide a nurturing, safe, and supportive environment for children while allowing parents to maintain a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives.

Vision for change:

Caregivers and providers should be compensated with salaries that reflect the quality, time, and care of their work. Meanwhile, families shouldn’t be expected to take everything on themselves. These changes start with policy reform, and also hinge on a reliable and robust social safety net that truly supports families. With these changes, parents won’t be solely reliant on the government to support their needs.


Childcare is not accessible

Quality childcare has become so inaccessible, and childcare centers are now so overwhelmed with demand, that  a whopping 66% of families in the U.S. live in childcare deserts. This scarcity can make it incredibly difficult for parents to find a suitable childcare facility. Anyone working non-traditional hours faces even greater hurdles, as many of these centers operate only during conventional work hours. Moreover, there is no standard of care from one facility to another, and some centers may not meet the required standards for child safety, education, and emotional support. 

Vision for change:

Families find the care they need, when they need it, using tools and technology that support a frictionless, one-stop-shopping experience. The goal is for families to easily identify and access the care they need, instead of trudging through a fragmented process mired in hurdles and paperwork.

Childcare is not equitable

Childcare inequity creates an uneven playing field for children right from the start, and disproportionately affects socioeconomically disadvantaged and racially marginalized communities. Where a family lives can dictate the quality of available care, with lower-income areas often lacking high-quality childcare options. Access for families with children with disabilities is even more dire. Furthermore, existing quality metrics can be biased against centers that primarily serve non-white communities, including home-based care providers, which often score lower due to underlying biases in evaluation standards.

Compounding these issues, caregivers in lower-income communities typically receive less compensation and recognition. As a result, less money is reinvested into these services, creating a cycle of subpar care that leaves certain children behind their more privileged peers. The additional challenges that people face in accessing subsidies, which could help offset the cost of care, make the issue even worse. 

Vision for change:

Redefine "quality of care" to be culturally inclusive. All families should have affordable access to childcare that best suits their needs. This involves investing more in community-based options that meet local needs, and overhauling government standards for quality of care to recognize and champion all types of care. Finally, technology can support caregivers in their operations, making the system more efficient and sustainable.


Finding childcare when you work a 9-to-5 job can be challenging enough, but what do parents do who work overnight? That’s something Liat..


Building a better world through mutualism, community, and care.

American independence has fostered a culture defined by two opposing forces: innovation and isolation. To tackle the childcare crisis, we must embrace mutualism, which values collective well being and shared responsibility. A resilient community is a safe space where acts of kindness and mutual aid are encouraged, and giving and receiving creates a positive feedback loop. The result: collective empathy and compassion. And childcare that meets every family’s needs.

One of the things we most miss out on by not having deep community is the abundance of support, resources, and care that exists when you’ve got many hearts and hands circling you.


We can create more of what we all need when we are in community.

- Mia Birdsong

How We Show Up: Reclaiming family, Friendship, and Community

Types of solutions

To tackle the childcare crisis, we need a multi-faceted approach that leverages different strategies and resources. These should include:



Childcare subsidies for families. Increased public funding for early education. Higher wages for childcare providers. Tax credits for parents. Legislation for flexible, family-friendly workplaces.


Grassroots Initiatives

Cooperative childcare networks. Neighborhood care-sharing initiatives. Local fundraising for scholarships. Volunteering to support existing services. Advocacy for policy changes locally.


Venture-based solutions

Innovative childcare service models that expand supply with exponential growth potential. Tech-driven childcare platforms for better accessibility. Social enterprises that provide affordable, high-quality childcare solutions.



Platforms that connect parents with affordable childcare providers. Apps for managing shared childcare responsibilities and connecting communities. Digital tools to enable policy, amplify grassroots efforts, and strengthen venture-based solutions.

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