When parents get up in the morning, many share a deep sense of anxiety. Is that childcare center going to be open? Who is going to be working it today? Is my child going to be safe? Statewide and nationwide, politicians are jumping on the issue. Presidential candidate Al Gore has proposed 8 billion in incentives and tax breaks to improve childcare nationwide. This month, the U.S. Senate is expected to consider an 17-million proposal to increase childcare development block grants that would foster ways to link pay to professional improvement, improve accreditation and subsidize parent fees. In California, several counties are proposing to use funds from Proposition 10, the cigarette tax initiative, to reward caregivers for professional development.
One model that is catching attention is the military model which has transformed its once execrable childcare system into a model form of subsidized work-based childcare. How did the military make it work? What about the cost? Can their model be applied elsewhere? What kinds of companies can successfully have childcare at work? Can work-based childcare be an added perk for employers competing to get good staff in a tight job market? Given the increasing numbers of working parents, can childcare, become a social priority?