Season 2: A Private Crisis
The nation's child care system is broken. Parents strain to afford it, low-paid workers struggle to stay in it, and high-quality care is hard to find. This puts perpetual stress on families and the economy. Still, major reform has been elusive. But is change coming? Advocates say the pandemic has shown that a healthy child care sector is critical to the economy, and the time for comprehensive reform is now. But it faces major obstacles. The cost is massive, and there is sharp disagreement about what it should look like. In Season 2 of Six Hundred Atlantic, we explore the often-overlooked child care sector. Is true change ahead? Or is history about to repeat itself?
Episode 1: What’s the real economic impact of child care?
Runtime: 14:26 — Child care follows a familiar storyline in the U.S.: Crisis comes, people act. Then momentum fades, and the system limps ahead. What’s preventing lasting reform? Advocates say many underestimate the sector’s broad impacts on the economy and the future.
Episode 2: U.S. history hides clues about child care and the fight for reform
Runtime: 17:34 — Polls indicate strong support for investing in a better child care system. Actual legislative results tell another story. Does history offer clues about why comprehensive reform has been so elusive, even though – on the surface – the idea is popular?
Episode 3: The shared burden of a broken child care system falls on parents, providers, workers
Runtime: 21:03 — Steep child care costs matter, and not just to the parents who pay them. Those fees are also the sector’s main source of revenue. Advocates see this as one of the system’s major flaws, and they say parents, providers, and workers all suffer for it.
Episode 4: Women’s work: Women bear the brunt of the child care crisis
Runtime: 19:09 — The American ideal once saw women at home, while men went to work. But cultural expectations have changed, and for many women that’s not possible or desirable. Still, women say the child care system hasn’t adjusted, and they bear the brunt of its problems.
Episode 5: What’s the true cost of child care reform? Change v. the status quo
Runtime: 24:52 — The nation’s child care system has been in a steady, under-the-radar crisis for decades. This doesn’t just affect kids and parents, it’s a drag on the entire economy. But experts say now may be the best chance in years to fix this broken system.
Bonus Episode: A conversation about child care in crisis
Runtime: 26:19 — Season 2 of Six Hundred Atlantic looked at a broken child care sector, including hopes the pandemic would trigger reform by highlighting child care’s problems and importance. In a bonus episode, experts Beth Mattingly and Tom Weber discuss the evolving crisis.
Bonus Episode: Inside a child-care void: What about parents working “nontraditional” hours?
Runtime: 18:33 — The nation’s child-care sector is in crisis because affordable, high-quality care is so hard to find. But this care is even more scarce for those who don’t work 9-to-5. In a bonus episode, we hear from four moms and get insight from Boston Fed expert Sarah Savage.