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Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024
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WHY RE-THINK CHILDCARE?

Childcare. A universal need within every family structure is the proper nurturing and care for the children. And yet, possibly one of the most important elements of a child’s – and their family’s – lives is continuously undervalued. We hear discussions about the standard of education and know that the first five years of a child’s life is a key time when experiences can either lead to life-long educational success or ensure a pathway of intense struggles. Yet, the organized mechanisms intended to care for our children leave much to be desired.  

But what if childcare could be viewed differently? If it could become a strong community support system of family care centers and serve as a critical touchpoint for the entire family regardless of income or socio-economic status? That’s where we see the future of childcare. 

Let’s call it The New Childcare. A system of childcare that doesn’t just look at the individual child, but also embraces a lifelong partnership with each family. A system which assembles every resource available and creates equitable access to these basic needs within a one-stop-shop. With this approach, childcare has the potential to be the missing piece in our heroic effort to end larger societal problems and can set each of our children and families on a pathway for success.  

New Childcare creates equitable access to the resources each child needs to thrive, regardless of income. The New Childcare interrupts the systematic segregation of goods and services to only those with adequate means and provides a powerful mechanism for equitable re-distribution.  

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In the New Childcare, the entire family can be buoyed by a team of professionals who understand how to help meet their needs. It can be a place where parents learn how to be instrumental in supporting their child’s development and life-long learning. It can also be the hub for consolidating existing funding and addressing the kind of family instability that leads to homelessness, while providing equitable access to mental health support, housing and healthcare. These services bolster food security and provide access to resources based upon the individual needs of each family. This system of high-quality childcare can also keep small setbacks from becoming crises which can cause long-term instability, or even homelessness.  

It’s far more efficient to provide these kinds of services at the on-site level of childcare centers, preventing far larger catastrophes and, in turn, lessening the burden on our economy. At Children’s Paradise, we’ve been able to be see first-hand how being that resource stops a small problem becoming a much bigger one for the family, and society as a whole. Sometimes that means providing extra diapers and food to a family who are going through a rough patch, or covering one month’s utility bill for a single mother who would otherwise be evicted. The snowball stops when these small interventions are delivered before these often one-time-circumstances result in family instability and homelessness. It is working in San Diego at Children’s Paradise. Can you imagine that happening on a larger scale across the country? 

As the U.S works to reimagine the childcare system, there is plenty of low-hanging fruit to be picked by legislators, employers and workers to fuel economic recovery. Policy-makers, considering child care in the future, might find it much easier to support a childcare solution when they realize that the answer to many tough issues – such as family homelessness– can be found in simply redirecting funding into a system of Family Care, while bolstering and empowering childcare providers to do the work we already do. Just at a greater scale. 

While the old model of childcare might be defunct, the new model has proven itself, and will continue to do so. With a holistic view and localized resources, the future of childcare is, in fact, very bright. 

About the Author: Julie Lowen is leading the charge in early childhood development. Her state-of-the-art education centers, combined with her visionary approach to learning programs, have helped thousands of children –  and their families – get a fresh start on life.   

Julie’s centers stand apart thanks to an approach that lets children learn and explore through imaginative play experiences that are facilitated by highly educated teachers, along with a belief that each child should be offered equal access to a high quality early childhood education, regardless of their family’s income.

Visit www.childrensparadise.com for more information.

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