a child's hand touches an instructional puzzle

States are trying to prop up the child care industry. It isn’t enough.

BY: - October 11, 2023

State efforts to prop up child care might spare some providers from the worst effects of last month’s expiration of pandemic-related aid — at least temporarily. But the unraveling of a system plagued by a lack of affordability and access, low wages, staffing turnover and burnout will continue, experts say. “The basic business model of […]

a childcare worker and three young children at a table with toys

Women workers could bear economic brunt as federal child care funding ends

BY: - September 30, 2023

A huge chunk of pandemic relief funding that kept child care programs afloat for the past few years is set to run out Saturday, and policy advocates say the economic impact will be profound, with the ripple effect hurting labor force participation and consumer spending at a time when the country is still trying to […]

Ana Pardo of the NC Justice Center discusses the 2023 State of Working Women

BY: - September 18, 2023

For the past two years, unemployment in North Carolina has done more than return to pre-pandemic levels; it’s actually dropped to the lowest level in more than 20 years. A closer look, however, reveals a more complicated picture — especially for the state’s women. Indeed, in Oxfam America’s recently released ranking of the Best and […]

a young child in a classroom looking at a computer screen

Gov. Roy Cooper releases federal dollars to aid NC Pre-K as GOP budget stalemate drags on

BY: - September 13, 2023

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that he will release $8 million in federal money to help North Carolina’s preschools address needs as they begin a new school year. The schools may use the one-time awards to upgrade classroom materials, purchase toys, supplies, playground equipment, supplemental curriculum materials or to pay for facility maintenance needs, mental […]

The looming childcare “crisis,” public benefits and their impact on the foster care system

BY: - August 17, 2023

Beth Messersmith can see the crisis coming. Come December, the federal funds for childcare will run dry. Unless state lawmakers allocate $300 million to cover the cost for the next two years, working families will suffer — which means so will North Carolina’s economy. “The childcare workforce is the workforce behind the workforce,” said Messersmith, […]

a glass filled with water from a tap

EPA announces $58 million investment in eradicating lead in drinking water

BY: - July 26, 2023

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it would distribute $58 million in grant funding toward the goal of protecting children from lead in drinking water in U.S. schools and childcare facilities. “During his first year in office, President Biden announced a bold plan to replace every lead pipe in America. Today’s announcement is another […]

a teacher works with a group of young children

Research, gubernatorial letter highlight struggles of childcare industry, workers

BY: - June 14, 2023

Research indicates that the early childhood education sphere is still feeling the effects of the pandemic in North Carolina.

‘It’s just a prayer answered.’ Cassandra Brooks, a childcare center owner, advocated for Medicaid expansion for years.

BY: - March 27, 2023

Cassandra Brooks wept tears of joy and relief when she received a text from a friend saying Republican legislative leaders were announcing their agreement to expand Medicaid.  “I just remember crying so hard,” she said. “Just broke down crying.” Brooks, who owns Little Believer’s Academy childcare centers in Garner and Clayton, for years has spoken […]

Natalie Bell- welder

Help wanted: Women needed for U.S. chips manufacturing plan to succeed

BY: - March 25, 2023

Natalie Bell was thinking about a career in art after college when a welding class and a delivery of four pizzas changed her career trajectory.  “I was taking a delivery out to a construction site and I met an ironworker who I was taking the delivery to,” said Bell, who lives in Columbus, Ohio. “I […]

Biden administration details potential cuts in education, food aid and more under GOP plan

BY: - March 20, 2023

WASHINGTON — Federal departments and agencies say U.S. House Republicans’ plans to cut federal spending would result in reductions to key programs like food aid, education assistance and wildfire management.  The series of letters from across the federal government released Monday detail exactly how plans to cut at least $130 billion in domestic spending during […]

New ‘must read’ report shines a light on women and poverty in North Carolina

BY: - December 21, 2022

Over 3.2 million North Carolinians are poor or near poor, and many more experience economic instability and challenges over time. We’ve described some of these communities and the hurdles they face, individually and collectively, in our prior research. With this report, we examine the ways that women in North Carolina are caught in the crosshairs of irreconcilable social and economic demands.

Photo from flickr user familymwr (, (CC BY 2.0,

Inflation: some facts you should know, and some steps policymakers should take

BY: - April 21, 2022

An economist explains why investments in childcare and eldercare could aid the U.S. economy Inflation is by far the biggest economic concern facing the U.S. economy today. While job growth is historically rapid and survey evidence indicates that workers think now is the best time in years to find a good job, the inflation surge has kept this labor market strength from translating into higher wages and incomes for most households.