Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper Discusses Career and Child Care
This Mother's Day, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Chief Kasper highlights impact of child care access on police careers
Access to high-quality child care is an issue that most parents and an increasing number of policymakers are spending a lot of time thinking about. As a mother and a chief of police, it is an issue that has influenced both my personal and professional life. Law enforcement work has never been the kind of job where you can guarantee you will be home by 4 to pick up the kids. There will likely be times when you must be available at all hours. So in an economy where more and more parents are both working full-time, child care and career necessities can be hard to juggle.
Even over the course of my own career, I have seen the field change. Police officers like myself used to be the breadwinners of the family while their spouses often stayed home. Now that is less common and parents need to think seriously about who will care for their kids during working hours. Given the importance of early brain development, particularly for infants and toddlers, this should not be taken lightly. Every parent wants to set their kids up for the greatest success possible.
It is frustratingly common to see kids lose out on opportunities early on which can turn into large disadvantages later in life.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Jody Kasper, Chief of Police, Northampton, Massachusetts
Some of us, like myself, were fortunate enough to be able to rely on nearby family and neighbors to help out in a pinch. Others have to make sacrifices. Unfortunately, women are still the ones expected to make sacrifices in their careers in order to meet their children’s needs. I have seen this occur in policing time and time again. Women choose to not enter the demanding and unpredictable career of policing, they leave the career early when they decide it does not work with family life, or they stay in the career but hold themselves back from promotion or special assignment in order to meet the demands of their family schedule. With both parents working, I am starting to see this with men as well. But that only underscores how important child care can be to so many families.
Lastly, accessible and affordable high-quality child care is important for reasons beyond helping parents to work and make a living for their families. Child care is an important component of early learning. It is frustratingly common to see kids lose out on opportunities early on which can turn into large disadvantages later in life. If there is one thing we can learn from today’s crime trends, it is that we should have put a lot more eggs in kids’ baskets earlier on in their lives. High-quality child care is a two generational investment that simultaneously helps parents, especially moms, looking to support their families, and kids by giving them a strong developmental start in life.
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