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How can the city support affordable, safe, and convenient childcare options?

Natasha Harper-Madison

City Council, District 1

As a parent I am acutely aware of the need for and often debilitating shortage of reliable, safe and affordable childcare. Families should not be forced to sacrifice the safety and well being of their children, our cities most valuable asset, for the ability to support them. I am a strong proponent for creative alternatives to the massive childcare shortage that prevents so many families from achieving economic mobility, continued education and generally thriving. Some of the ways I believe the city can support affordable, safe and convenient childcare options are embedded in what I call “amenities driven affordable housing. In accordance with Fair Housing laws, we are not permitted to create housing for a particular population. We are however permitted to create amenities that will attract families who need them. A cooperative, built in childcare option is one way to provide increased affordable housing, increased access to reliable transportation and dramatically increased convenience in childcare options. I would encourage the city to use it’s land and building collateral to support these efforts, along with land trust options and public/private partnership opportunities. We, as a city, have to commit to not sanctioning sexism and classism in our approach to addressing the need for childcare. Far too often the onus of providing childcare is that of the mother, when the reality is that it is our duty as a civilized society to provide care and education for all children. I am also of the belief that we must rethink our approach to child care. The current narrative is indicative of the care of children simply including their basic physiological needs and operating as a functional place for children to be “cared” for while their parents work. I would encourage that we put more emphasis on child care being synonymous with child growth and preparation.