Segments in this Video

Lack of Support for Families (03:15)


Research shows that infants receiving high quality care do better in school and in life. Most childcare is unregulated, expensive, and has low paid workers—but parents work and depend on it. The U.S. nearly made care available to every family.

Lanham Act (02:03)

World War II propelled women into the American workforce, many with young children. The government approved funding for a national child development center network. After the war, centers closed but numbers of working mothers continued growing.

Creating a Middle Class Society (01:48)

After the war, legislation provided low cost mortgages, small business loans, college tuition, job training, and tax deductions for dependents. However, prosperity was limited to white families. The Civil Rights Movement forced political leaders to confront inequalities.

Great Society (02:06)

In 1964, Lyndon Johnson introduced legislation with programs enabling more Americans to share in growing prosperity. Included was a sense of collective responsibility for the health of all families. More mothers entered the workforce out of necessity.

Child Development Legislation (01:45)

In 1971, Minnesota senator Walter Mondale championed a policy to meet the changing needs of children and working families. He was moved by a young boy's accidental death due to lack of childcare in Washington, D.C.

Comprehensive Child Development Act (04:12)

In 1968, Nixon had promised support for children from birth to five. John Brademas co-sponsored Mondale's bill modeled on the Head Start program. Marian Wright Edelman organized a coalition of unions, teachers, and feminists.

CDDA Opposition (02:26)

Phyllis Schlafly led a grassroots coalition framing the bill as an attack on families. She still believes the government wanted to take over raising children. Goldwater's 1964 campaign had galvanized conservative activists like Schlafly.

Fight for Childcare (02:44)

The CDDA passed both houses of Congress. It would include after school programs, medical treatment, and counseling, and was voluntary and locally controlled. Supporters included religious organizations, teachers, and pediatricians. Conservative aide Patrick Buchanan compared it to Soviet ideology.

Defeating the CDDA (03:44)

The Manhattan 12 planned to introduce a Republican challenger to Nixon; childcare legislation became a lightning rod for their campaign. Nixon caved to pressure and vetoed the bill. Buchanan wrote the message in strong language to electrify his right-wing base.

Fear Triumphs Hope (04:09)

Mondale and Brademas tried to revive the CCDA, but conservative forces used fear mongering and misinformation to dissuade voters. Since Nixon's 1971 veto, politicians have argued that programs helping children and families are government intrusions into family life.

Military Childcare Program (01:43)

In 1989, Congress mandated high quality care to any military families who wanted it. The CDDA nearly extended this type of care to all U.S. families. Proponents argue for investing in America's future.

Credits: Once Upon a Time: When Childcare for All Wasn't Just a Fairy Tale (01:45)

Credits: Once Upon a Time: When Childcare for All Wasn't Just a Fairy Tale

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Once Upon a Time: When Childcare for All Wasn't Just a Fairy Tale

Part of the Series : The Raising of America
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Imagine how things might be different today if high-quality early care and education had been available to every family that wanted it for the past four decades. It almost happened! Childcare in America is a patchwork—uneven in quality, unaffordable to most, and failing many of our youngest children. But it could have been very different. In 1971, a bi-partisan Congress, still influenced by the Civil Rights Movement and the War on Poverty, passed a bill providing high-quality childcare, home visiting, and other services to every family who wanted it: the Comprehensive Child Development Act (CCDA). At the eleventh hour, President Nixon vetoed the bill, invoking “family values”—and in doing so, marked a seminal turn to the “fend-for-yourself” America of today.

Length: 33 minutes

Item#: BVL165946

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.