Report | October 26, 2017

How Child Care Can Improve Military Readiness

High-quality child care helps prevent the problems that disqualify 71% of young Americans from military service

Our national security depends on qualified young adults who are ready, willing, and able to serve in the U.S. military. However, educational deficits, health issues, and behavior problems currently prevent 71 percent of all young Americans from qualifying for service.

There is scientific consensus that brain development from birth to age five sets the stage for children’s future success. Two-thirds of children under the age of five in the U.S. have parents or a single parent who works outside the home, and many of these children are not in high-quality child care. Without improvements to the child care system, our nation risks an even smaller recruiting pool in the future.

In this report, we cite research demonstrating that high-quality child care can support children’s success and military readiness in three categories: education, fitness and behavior.

High-quality child care can support children’s success and military readiness

The federal government supports child care affordability through direct funding, as well as through the tax code. The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) provides funding to states to subsidize child care expenses for low-income families while parents work or pursue work, or are in school or training. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) reduces an individual’s or family’s federal income tax liability based on overall income and spending on qualified child or dependent care expenses.

Given the long-term benefits of high-quality child care to children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development, federal policymakers should continue to promote quality, access and affordability. Support for high-quality child care is an investment in our future national security.

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