Social Question

stanleybmanly's avatar

Why is the societal backup for children so abysmal in the United States?

Asked by stanleybmanly (22360points) January 19th, 2016 from iPhone

I was busy with paperwork while the tv droned in the background, when this documentary program began rattling off some really grim statistics on the plight of people with kids in America, and the consequences for the kids involved. It’s enough to break your heart.

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11 Answers

Seek's avatar

Because low income children can’t afford lobbyists and aren’t a swing voting block.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ My husband spent 5 years working as a lawyer-lobbyist for children’s rights. He lost his job due to lack of funding.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But the revelation is that it isn’t just low income children with their heads on the block. Things have reached a point that the great determinant for whether or not you will slip below the poverty line is your decision on parenthood. The one positive discovery from the documentary (and there were damned few of them) is that our armed forces have the best and most affordable childcare programs in the country.

Cruiser's avatar

I wish you provided a bit more context to what grim statistics are involved in this plight of people with kids are dealing with and some examples of the consequences kids are suffering. Is this involving a specific class of families? Poor rich or both? I have my initial thoughts on this but I’d like to make sure my answer is relevant to your question.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know exactly what you are talking about. I need more specifics. What consequences?

stanleybmanly's avatar

The program is entitled “The raising of America”. I don’t know how to post links with this phone, but it should be simple to locate. No the documentary wasn’t about poor kids specifically. Everyone assumes (correctly) that the outlook is particularly grim for poor kids. In fact the focus is mostly on the difficulties confronting middle class working people with kids. Rich kids? I suppose their “plight” is shamefully neglected. The show is piled high with statistics, and is pointedly stark in comparing us to the the rest of the world. The child care crisis is another eye opener.

Seek's avatar

One issue: child care.

Most child care providers are open Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm. If you work regular office hours and get stuck in traffic, you can pay up to $20 PER MINUTE you are late to pick up.

If you do not work every day, you still pay for child care for that day, because you’re taking up a spot in their ratio.

If your work schedule is “flexible” (for the employer, like all retail and food service jobs are) good luck finding any child care facility that is open when you need them. 24 hour facilities exist, but cost twice as much, easily, than other facilities. There are almost no “walk in” care facilities for people with inconsistent work schedules.

If you’re lucky, you have family members who will care for your child for less than minimum wage. If you’re not, you simply cannot afford to work.

That leads to a nice several-year gap in employment, which destroys your chances at getting a good job when the kid is old enough to be home alone.

Cruiser's avatar

The Raising of America
I am watching the trailer right now.

Cruiser's avatar

Great documentary @stanleybmanly I can see why it moved you to post and ask this question. I think the film answers your question quite clearly in that it hints that we can analyze the data 4 ways to Sunday and make obvious statements that we need to do a better job and specifically by enacting governmental policies that strengthen our support structure for the parents to help them do a much better job, then the film goes on to highlight what areas need improvement and then we are presented with experts who throw up their hands in frustration because of the inaction of the policy makers.

It begs us to review our priorities and and as a society to come together and make that investment in our families especially the kids and do a better job raising and teacher our kids.

The recipe for solving this problem is so simple. Raise smarter kids, more will graduate High School, more will go on to college, more will get better jobs, more will contribute to their communities in a positive way, more will then do better jobs raising their kids and we break this cycle of the most powerful Nation in the world being near dead last in terms of rankings on the quality of our care for our children.

This was exactly what my initial reaction to your question was, but the next question is how did we get to this level of disconnect to something this important as quality of child care? When I grew up there we very few child care centers because in the city where I grew up life was simple, dads worked and moms stayed home and raised their kids and the quality of child care was primarily less of an issue and the financial burden to raise your kids rested on the shoulders of the families.

Why is it all so different today??

The answer is complex and not an easy one and again IMO comes back to where our priorities are as a society. In our modern world we have created this mind set that we need things today we got along just fine without when I grew up. We didn’t have cell phones, computers, playstations, big screen TV’s, 2nd and 3rd cars, internet and cable TV bills to pay. Families could afford to have mom stay home and be the child care and have the time to read to their kids.

I agree with a lot of what the documentary had to say about the lack of quality in our nations child care system, but personally I think our priorities as a Nation are seriously out of whack and this is made all the more obvious when you look at the Nations that are doing a better job and they are doing a much better job. Americans attitudes are they want it all now and somehow they think they must have it all now and have kids at the same time. My parents never had it all until they were in their late 50’s after all the kids were out of the house and the bills and loans were all paid off. That is the way families did it years back. There were no credit cards, you knew how to save for what you wanted.

I truly don’t think the whole answer is in more governmental policies to providing better child care, I think part of the answer is getting parents to review their priorities as parents and make the changes in their lifestyles to where THEY can give their kids the better care their kids need. Make things happen to where the mom can stay home and raise their kids. Create better governmental policies that create better paying jobs and a lot of that will depend on better trade deals so we can get back our manufacturing jobs that have gone overseas and to Mexico. Dad’s will have those good jobs and moms can stay home once again.

Seek's avatar

In a lot of cases, mom stays home to raise the kids because she doesn’t have a choice. Unfortunately, dad’s trade is paying half the wage it was 15 years ago, and they don’t have anything left to cut back.

jca's avatar

In the area of the country I live in, rent is easily $1500 per month and up for two bedrooms. One salary to pay that, plus live (food, heat and hot water, transportation at the minimum, not even talking luxurious cell phone, cable, vacations, etc.) really would be impossible.

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