Is This the Care We Need?: An Examination of Childcare Policy in Pennsylvania


  • Jennie Sweet-Cushman
  • Ashley Harden



For many families across Pennsylvania, child care is an ever-present concern. Since the 1970s, when Richard Nixon vetoed a national childcare program, child care has received little time in the policy spotlight. Instead, funding for child care in the United States now comes from a mixture of federal, state, and local programs that do not help all families. This article explores childcare options available to families in the state of Pennsylvania and highlights gaps in the current system. Specifically, we examine the state of child care available to families in the Commonwealth in terms of quality, accessibility, flexibility, and affordability. We also incorporate survey data from a nonrepresentative sample of registered Pennsylvania voters conducted by the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics. As these results support the need for improvements in the current childcare system, we discuss recommendations for the future.