Lack of access to affordable high quality child care is frequently the tipping point that catapults a family into poverty, joblessness, and homelessness - a constant threat to the well-being of women and children. Polakow spent a year traveling around the country listening to low-income women from diverse backgrounds tell their stories of struggle, resilience, distress, and occasional success as they encountered ongoing child care crises. The resulting work is both a compelling account of the lived realities of the child care crisis, and an incisive critique of public policy that points to the United States as an outlier in the international community. Drawing on historical and international perspectives, Polakow creates a groundbreaking analysis of child care as a human right, persuasively arguing for a universal child care system.
Valerie Polakow is a professor of Educational Psychology and Early Childhood at Eastern Michigan University. She has written and edited numerous books, including Lives on the Edge and The Public Assault on America's Children.