Trailer - Once Upon a Time

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Childcare in America is a patchwork— uneven in quality, unaffordable to most and failing many of our youngest children.

Once Upon a Time allows us to imagine how things might be different if all of America’s children had access to high-quality early care and education—in fact, we almost did.

In 1971, Congress passed a bill providing high-quality childcare, home visiting and other services to every family which wanted it, the Comprehensive Child Development Act (CCDA). But for the bill to become law, it needed President Nixon’s signature.

Patrick Buchanan, a young White House speechwriter at the time, reveals how powerful conservatives went to work to secure the president’s veto, re-casting the bill as government intrusion in the family.

Nixon’s veto message, written by Buchanan, called the CCDA “a communal approach” to childrearing. The veto marked the first time “family values” were invoked to undermine families and was a seminal inflection point in our nation’s history towards our “fend-for-yourself” society of today.

Once, we came achingly close to winning childcare for all. What will it take to enact effective child and family policies today?

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