Child Care Trilemma Out of Balance

The Child Care Trilemma of Affordability, Availability, and Quality had reached somewhat of a balance over the past 50 years since its original identification.  However, recently in the quest to get child care programs back up and running, the balancing act of these three concepts appear to be a bit ajar.  Since the COVID19 pandemic closed down the majority of child care in the country with the exception of emergency child care for essential workers, there has been a great deal of discussion on how best to move forward within national forums.  I have had the distinct honor to be included in many of these discussions.

What is beginning to worry me as I listen to others debate the rebooting of child care are the positions regarding the Child Care Trilemma Balance seem to be shifting to more emphasis on the affordability and availability (quantity) side of the equation with quality somewhere in the rear view mirror.  There is no doubt in my mind that child care is going to be a driving force to getting the general workforce back to work, but I hope we don’t regress 50 years to the same political dichotomization of child care as a workforce support for parents or a child development service for children.


About Dr Fiene

Dr. Rick Fiene has spent his professional career in improving the quality of child care in various states, nationally, and internationally. He has done extensive research and publishing on the key components in improving child care quality through an early childhood program quality indicator model of training, technical assistance, quality rating & improvement systems, professional development, mentoring, licensing, risk assessment, differential program monitoring, and accreditation. Dr. Fiene is a retired professor of human development & psychology (Penn State University) where he was department head and director of the Capital Area Early Childhood Research and Training Institute.
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