PBS NewsHour Series “Raising the Future: America’s Child Care Dilemma” Explores the Country’s Broken Child Care System

Arlington, VA (July 8, 2021) — Beginning July 12 and airing over the course of that week, PBS NewsHour will broadcast “Raising the Future: America’s Child Care Dilemma,” a five-part series that takes an extensive look at America’s child care crisis. The struggle to find affordable, quality child care has always been one of the biggest issues for American families and Covid-19 only exacerbated the problem. This series examines the current state of the American child care system, its history, and the new movement for long-term reform in the post-Covid era.

Special Correspondent Cat Wise and producer Kate McMahon travel the country talking to parents, caregivers, experts and advocates who are familiar with the country’s child care system and explore the issues plaguing it such as workforce pay, access, quality, and affordability.

With support from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative and the Stein Early Childhood Development Fund at the California Community Foundation, the series provides compelling stories and viewpoints from communities in the country that are often left out of the national conversation when it comes to child care.

NewsHour’s broadcast reports include:

Monday, July 12, 2021
The “scene setter” segment of the series examines America’s dramatically changed child care landscape as the country emerges from the pandemic and what’s at stake in this critical moment. Weaving together interviews with national experts, and compelling personal stories from families and providers in Oregon, the report goes beyond the headlines to reveal long-standing inequities and problems with America’s patchwork child care system. This segment also looks back at historical touchpoints that have impacted public policy and investment in early care and education for decades.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021
In the second segment, the NewsHour team travels to Mississippi where the lack of affordable, quality child care has long been a significant hurdle for working families, especially low-income single mothers. Using the story of one mother who has experienced significant child care challenges, the report looks at why government child care assistance has been difficult for parents to access in Mississippi and around the country. They visit an innovative program in Biloxi which has been transforming the lives of single mothers by providing job training and free, easy-to-access child care.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021
In the absence of a universal child care system, some communities around the country have been trying to figure out how to address child care shortages which are impacting local economies, including in Nebraska, where this segment takes place. The report profiles a small community where residents took action and created one of the country’s few infant and toddler programs owned and operated by a public school district. The NewsHour team then travels to another Nebraska town where community and business leaders have developed financial incentives to increase the number of child care slots.

Thursday, July 15, 2021
As Congress contemplates a major new role for the federal government in child care, some experts say they should look to the military child care system which has been called a “model for the nation.” In this report, the NewsHour team visits Fort Belvoir in Virginia where service members can access affordable, quality child care and providers earn fair wages and benefits. And, in one of the more compelling moments in the series, the head of child care policy for the military, reveals her family’s own struggles with child care.

Friday, July 16, 2021
In the final segment of the series, the report looks at key questions confronting the country and political leaders: What now? Should the country move toward long-term child care reform? The report explores policies now being considered and brings to light some of the many views Americans have about how we might move forward.

Press Contact: Ella Richardson, erichardson (at) newshour (dot) org