With any government program, there are only so many benefits to go around. A recent baby boom that proved bigger than expected has caused government programs to come under pressure and may leave hundreds of thousands of children out of free educational programs. What went wrong and how will this affect children and families?
How Many More Children Are Eligible?
It is expected that almost 32,000 more children than what the government has allotted for will become eligible for free educational programs each year. By 2018, it is expected that there will be almost a quarter of a million shortfall of children that won’t be able to obtain free programs they qualify for. How did this happen?
Why Is There a Problem?
First of all, the government underestimated the number of children that would be born and how high poverty levels would soar. There are also fewer staff members to help provide these programs. It is estimated that the need for additional staff totals a number of close to 8,000 employees and another 50+ childcare workers will need to be hired yearly to keep up with demands. This will require a much larger budget than the government accounted for. The needed budget increase to keep up with demands is in the millions.
How Will This Affect Children and Families?
With such a high demand, only the poorest of the poor may be able to get the help they need. This means that parents may need to give up their jobs in order to care for their children instead of placing them in these free educational programs. This will, in turn, increase the poverty rates. Some families may be lucky enough to find family members that will care for their children so they can work. One solution would be for more employers to offer daycare programs, but it’s unlikely these programs would be educational. Children learn a lot during the early stages of life and these free educational programs can start them off on the right foot.
What Can the Government Do?
First of all, there should be programs to help people obtain their education in childcare so that more staff members would be available. Second, the government needs to look into ways to increase the budget for these programs and invest in schools that offer the best education possible. The government should also inspect these institutions on a regular basis to ensure the money is being well-spent.
A poor economy affects a country in ways people could never dream of. The worst part is the ripple effect. Without enough programs to cover the amount of children, most families will need to find ways to care for their children until they are old enough to enter the public school system. This will cause lower family incomes and increased poverty rates.
About the Author: Samuel Sawyer is an educator who loves to work with children from all walks of life. He also tutors students who are preparing for the GMAT and often recommends Veritas Prep programs as well.