Capita featured in Quartz
Earlier this year we launched Capita to explore how the great cultural and social transformations of our day affect young children, and to foster new ideas to ensure a future in which children and their families flourish. We are pleased to see our work and ideas featured today in Quartz. Read an excerpt below and the full story at Quartz.
Having in-home child care requires having a home that is suitable for child care. To that end, Capita’s Joe Waters is working on entrepreneurial solutions.
Last year, Capita teamed up with Auburn University’s School of Architecture in Alabama to design a new kind of housing product — a house that is affordable, efficient, durable, and specifically designed to meet the needs of in-home child care providers in rural America.
Auburn’s architecture school has been tackling affordable housing issues in impoverished western Alabama since 1993, when it founded the Rural Studio with undergraduate students and faculty to bring good design to some of its most impoverished communities. In 2005, Rural Studio challenged students to design and build a house for $20,000 (the average cost of a mortgage in the community), which became the 20K Initiative. It has since built more than 200 low-cost projects by embedding students in Newbern, Alabama, to live and work with residents to build homes.
Waters says there are more than 1 million home child-care providers in the US, about half of which are on the books. “Let’s dignify their work with good design,” he says, by creating houses that allow providers to elevate the quality of the care. The right house, he believes, could transform the perception of at-home care from a side gig to a valued profession.
Waters knows about Wonderschool. In fact, he could see some of the houses, when they’re built, being put to use by Wonderschool users. In other words, Waters could provide the hardware, and Wonderschool, the software.
Solving affordable child care is only one piece of the much-larger issue of how we can support families before the kids get to school around age four of five. It’s clearly a major concern: a survey of 1,858 men and women between 20 to 45 years old, conducted by Morning Consult for The New York Times survey, showed that a quarter of respondents who either had children or planned to have kids expected to have smaller families than they’d like. The number-one reason: “child care is too expensive.”
With KnowledgeWorks, Capita will publish in 2019 a Forecast for the Futures of Young Children to explore how child care might change to adapt to the gig economy, as well as questions like how climate change, gender identity, race and equity, as well as technological advancements may affect the needs of families and children. As Waters points out in a post on Medium, “early childhood ‘policy’ is too frequently defined as a set of programs (pre-K, home visiting, child care, etc.) operating in silos rather than as a coordinated public policy approach connecting singular programs together.” If we want more affordable child care for everyone, he says, we need to think bigger.