Finding affordable, quality child care shouldn’t be hard. For far too long, the United States has put the burden of paying for child care exclusively on the shoulders of working families, despite the great stake that employers and the economy have in guaranteeing that families can access care. And while families across incomes and geographic locations continue to face high costs of care and education, child care remains an industry where programs operate on shoestring budgets, and in most states, early educators continue to make poverty wages. It’s an equation that doesn’t add up.

U.S. economic productivity depends on parents accessing affordable high-quality child care. Nevertheless, the United States has yet to see a substantial, long-term federal investment in child care that supports parents, providers, and children. Parents need child care to work. And early educators need livable wages and workforce supports to provide high-quality early care and education to young children.

As you navigate this website, you’ll understand the true costs of providing quality child care, why these costs shouldn’t be shared, and why Congress should fund it. For every family to have meaningful choices for quality, affordable child care, it will take real policy change.

CostOfChildCare.Org is a project of the Center for American Progress. Visit the interactive and the “Learn More” page to explore more of our work.