Pelosi calls attention to child care option shortage in Bay Area

March 28, 2013 9:25:22 PM PDT
President Barack Obama had made it clear he wants to improve early childhood education. Thursday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called attention to the severe shortage of child care options in the Bay Area.

There are 300,000 children in California on waiting lists to get into a quality child care center. The president started the discussion which has sparked a debate over the choices women face as they pursue work while raising children.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg continues to encourage women to be more ambitious. That advice has received praise and criticism.

Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote an article titled "Why Women Can't Have It All." She told Fortune Magazine Sandberg is both "superhuman and rich."

Attorney and mother of two Allyson Cook say Sandberg's advice doesn't make sense to most working moms.

"I fell it's a struggle and there are sacrifices," she said. "It's hard to find a balance and something is always suffering whether it's your career or your family life."

Still, Cook says she's lucky to be able to afford child care for her kids. Those who can't sometimes end up leaving the workforce.

"We have parents who can't continue to go to school because they don't have the childcare they need," childcare provider Nancy Harvey said. "We have parents who aren't able to work."

Thursday, Pelosi visited the South of Market child care center where 60 percent of the children live in underserved neighborhoods. The city and state and private donations help pay for their care.

But there is a real shortage of these centers. In San Francisco alone there are 4,800 children on the waiting list.

Pelosi says the challenge is for government to come up with legislation that would create affordable care for all.

"It may require a different Congress to get this job done but I am hopeful that listening to the people, that members will make a different decision," she said.

Among the proposals made by Obama: more federal grants and a tax credit for low-income families who have child care expenses. That's going to be hard to pass in Congress.

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