World Bank Report – Better Jobs and Brighter Futures : Investing in Childcare to Build Human Capital

Development – Livelihoods, Child Care

Report – Better Jobs and Brighter Futures : Investing in Childcare to Build Human Capital
World Bank – Amanda E. Devercelli and Frances Beaton-Day
December 2020 :: 100 pages
In this paper, the authors present the evidence on why childcare matters for building human capital, look at the current status of childcare provision worldwide, including an estimate of the global gaps in access, and present specific actions countries can take to expand access to quality, affordable childcare for all families that need it, especially the most vulnerable. This paper was originally drafted prior to the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and has been updated to include new content, taking into account the unique challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for families, children, governments, and the childcare industry, as well as the importance of investing in childcare to drive countries’ economic recovery. In section one the authors make the case for why childcare matters for building human capital and how it relates to a web of diverse issues that include women’s employment, family welfare, child development, business productivity, and the overall economy. In section two, the authors present the scope of the challenge worldwide, with projections of the unmet need for quality childcare and, ultimately, the size of the market opportunity. In section three the authors suggest five policy goals that all governments should work toward to ensure affordable, quality childcare for those families that need it. In section four, the authors lay out an agenda to better leverage existing resources and cross-sectoral opportunities, support country-level processes, and expand the research agenda. Detailed annexes are included at the end of the paper, which include additional research, guidance for countries, and specific policy and country examples that may be helpful in policy dialogue. These annexes can be used as standalone resources to go into more depth on specific topics.

Press Release
Nearly 350 Million Children Lack Quality Childcare in the World
WASHINGTON, March 4, 2021— More than 40 percent of all children below primary-school age – or nearly 350 million – need childcare but do not have access, according to a new World Bank report launched today. As a result, too many children are spending time in unsafe and unstimulating environments. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the inadequacies in childcare provision and the vulnerability of the sector across the world.

The new report, Better Jobs and Brighter Futures: Investing in Childcare to Build Human Capital, highlights how investments in childcare can increase women’s employment and productivity, create new jobs, improve child outcomes, drive economic growth, and support a more resilient and inclusive recovery from the pandemic. It notes that the struggles so many parents have experienced during the pandemic to balance childcare and work responsibilities may also generate policy momentum to address the issue.

Investing in quality, affordable childcare is key to unlocking pathways out of poverty, helping everyone achieve their potential, and increasing equity – all of which are cornerstones of a country’s economic growth and productivity.

“The first five years of a child’s life are a period of rapid brain development. Providing children with a safe and stimulating environment during this time has huge returns and makes subsequent education investments much more effective,” said Jaime Saavedra, World Bank’s Global Director for Education. “But 40 percent of children in low- and middle-income countries need childcare and do not have access. We need to urgently expand investments in childcare.”

In order to maximize both female labor force participation and child development, governments play a crucial role. They can help ensure that quality childcare is available, affordable, and meets the needs of all families, particularly the most vulnerable. Expanding the childcare economy and building the childcare workforce also can create up to 43 million new jobs while facilitating more people—particularly women—to be able to seek or return to employment…