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KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

Working Families Turn To 24-Hour Day Care Centers, But Costs Are High


As the middle class changes, sometimes even households with six figure incomes are struggling. The typical American worker puts in 47 hours a week, and nearly 5 percent work more than one job, with hours that vary depending on the needs of big corporations.

Alissa Quart, executive editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, talked on a recent episode of KERA's Think about how child care is changing for middle class families.

Interview Highlights

Who dropped off kids at 24-hour day care 

They were nursing assistants and hospice workers, and they worked evening jobs at Home Depot, stuff like that. So they'd have to drop off their kids at 3 in the afternoon and come back at 9, and sometimes the kids would have to stay over. It was part of the whole constellation that I call extreme day care. Something like nine percent of American day cares are now in off hours: later than working hours, on weekends. That's quite a substantial rise.

What are the possible solutions

I spent some time with people who are in co-parenting arrangements. Which means they are biologically and romantically not linked, but they live in the same house, and they care for one another's children collectively... But more than that, we need things like universal pre-Kr generalized, better-subsidized day care.

How parents struggle even after receiving subsidies

It's not just the waiting time, it's the forms, it's the bureaucracy. If you're working all these different jobs, how are you tending to that? That's like a whole other job.

Listen to the entire conversation on Think."