Faced with the policy conundrum that is posed by the choice of directing public funds towards free childcare or prison for mom and institutionalization for kids, Arizona makes the predictable and catastrophic choice.
Most of you will have heard the devastatingly sad story of Shanesha Taylor, an unemployed and homeless single mother of two, who miraculously was granted an interview for that job that Bill Clinton decided was the answer to ending "welfare as we knew it."
She left the kids in her Dodge Durango, with catastrophic consequences. Not to their health, but to their welfare, as a passerby, seeing them, called the cops. Now the kids are in the hands of the county child protective services, and the mother faces two felony counts.
It is instructive to compare the way the richest country in the world allocates resources for the benefit of its children, with, say France. It is also worth a moment's reflection on the message sent by this comparison.
In France, government run nurseries provide subsidized care for all children from infancy forward. (3 months old.) The care is provided by well paid, well trained and dedicated personnel. They consider this to be an important job.
Childcare in America, by comparison, while wildly more expensive to the parents, is shabby in quality, to the point of putting the cared for children in physical danger.
We do not arrive at this situation by accident, but by design. By budget decisions taken in cold blood by state and county governments.
“It’s reasonable to turn the lens back on us,” Shahera Hyatt, Project Director for the California Homeless Youth Project, told ThinkProgress. “What did we do to not help her find childcare when she had that appointment?”
Hyatt points to her own state, California, which has cut 110,000 subsidized child care slots, about a quarter of the total spots in the program, since 2008, leaving low-income parents with few feasible options for child care on short notice.
Arizona’s child care situation for its low-income residents is, if anything, worse than California’s. In the past four years, the state has cut 40 percent of its total child care budget, $81 million, which led to an estimated 33,000 children who would otherwise be eligible for subsidized care to go without it. (By the numbers, that’s less than California — but Arizona’s population is about one fifth of the Golden State’s.) Between 2012 and 2013, there was a decrease in the number of children served for every single child care program in the stateexcept for Child Protective Services.
It would be too facile to turn our guns on the Repugnants who run Arizona; California, after all, has a Democratic party legislative super majority and a Democratic (even, forward looking) Governor.
And, of course, it was Democrat Bill Clinton who turned his back on one hundred years of policy directed at having mothers supported so they could raise their children at home rather than seek work.
To put it simply we treat our children like shit, because that is how we see them.
And we, in turn, are pieces of shit for so doing.
Go here if you are not a piece of shit, and want to change this story.