How the child care crisis affects working parents

In the United States, high-quality child care programs are prohibitively expensive, government assistance is limited, and daycare openings are sometimes hard to find at all. In 2022, more than 1 in 10 young children had a parent who had to quit, turn down or drastically change a job in the previous year because of child care problems. And that burden falls most on mothers, who shoulder more child-rearing responsibilities and are far more likely to leave a job to care for kids.

This series on how the child care crisis affects working parents — with a focus on solutions — is produced by the Education Reporting Collaborative, a coalition of eight newsrooms, including The Hechinger Report,, The Associated Press, The Christian Science Monitor, The Dallas Morning News, Idaho Education News, The Post & Courier, and The Seattle Times.

America’s child care system is in crisis. It’s especially holding back moms without college degrees

But the high cost of child care has upended the careers of even those with college degrees, including teachers.

These cities raised taxes — for free child care

Parents say the free day care 'changed my life.'

“I can be mom and teacher:” Schools tackle child care needs to keep staff in classrooms

It’s a retention tool as much as it is a way to ensure youngsters are prepared when they enter kindergarten.

Congress hasn’t helped families with day care costs. So states are stepping in

Across the country, the story for families is virtually the same: Child care is unaffordable for many, hard to find for those who can pay, and financially precarious for day care operators and their employees.

More companies offer on-site child care. Parents love the convenience, but is it a long-term fix?

Child care costs can eclipse rent or mortgages, if parents can access care in the first place. Many find themselves on waitlists.