July 12–16, 2021

As our economy recovers, we know that our child care infrastructure remains in crisis. We must invest in our care system with our children’s futures at stake. Accessible, affordable, high-quality child care allows families to work and offers babies the nurturing learning environment they need for healthy development. It helps build a future for our families, our economy and our nation.

PBS NewsHour, one of the nation’s most trusted nightly news sources, has produced an upcoming week-long series on child care in the United States titled Raising Our Future: America’s Child Care Dilemma. The series is scheduled to run in five segments next week, beginning July 12.

Each segment will have a specific focus that will be covered in a 7–10 minute package, and we anticipate that the particular needs of infants and toddlers will be woven throughout the series:

  • Segment 1 (Oregon): The first “scene setter” segment of the series examines America’s dramatically changed child care landscape as the country emerges from the pandemic and what’s at stake in this critical moment. Weaving together interviews with national experts and compelling personal stories from families and providers in Oregon, the report goes beyond the headlines to reveal long-standing inequities and problems with America’s patchwork child care system. The report also looks back at historical touchpoints that have affected public policy and investment in early care and education for decades.
  • Segment 2 (Mississippi): The NewsHour team travels on to Mississippi where the lack of affordable, quality child care has long been a significant hurdle for working families, especially low-income single mothers. Using the story of one mother who has experienced significant child care challenges, the report looks at why government child care assistance has been difficult for parents to access in Mississippi and around the country. The reporters then visit an innovative program in Biloxi that has been transforming the lives of single mothers by providing job training and free, easy-to-access child care.
  • Segment 3 (Nebraska): In the absence of a universal child care system, some communities around the country have been trying to figure out how to address child care shortages that are impacting local economies. In this segment, the NewsHour team visits a small community where residents took action and created one of the country’s few infant and toddler programs owned and operated by a public school district. The team then travels to another Nebraska town where community and business leaders have developed financial incentives to increase the number of child care slots.
  • Segment 4 (Fort Belvoir, Virginia): As Congress contemplates a major new role for the federal government in child care, some experts say they should look to the military child care system which has been called a “model for the nation.” In this report, the NewsHour team visits Fort Belvoir in Virginia where service members can access affordable, quality child care and where providers earn fair wages and benefits. And, in one of the more compelling moments in the series, the head of child care policy for the military, reveals her family’s own struggles with child care.
  • Segment 5 (Around the Country): In the final report of the series, the NewsHour team looks at the key question confronting the country and their political leaders: What now? Should the country move toward long-term child care reform? Hearing from average Americans and national thought leaders, the report explores some of the policies now being considered, and brings to light some of the many views about how we might move forward.

Learn more at the series web page and join us in promoting the series and its resources as part of our effort to expand an understanding of this critical issue.

Let’s recognize young children as our greatest resource by adding our voices to the growing urgency around the need to address this very real crisis.

Thank you.

Kimberly P. Diamond-Berry, PhD, IECMH-E®
Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Mentor-Policy
Director of Policy, Grants, and Demonstration Preschool
[email protected]