Deregulation offers a better, lower-cost way to expand access to out-of-home childcare than larger federal government subsidies, Ryan Bourne explains at Governing online. Easing regulations would address the underlying question: “Why is child care so expensive?”

Staff-child ratio rules and worker-qualification requirements, in particular, increase prices and reduce availability, particularly in poor areas…and they disproportionately impact single mothers, who are particularly sensitive to child-care costs in terms of deciding whether to work.

Rolling back regulation is simpler and safer than adding subsidies to offset the higher costs of previous interventions, which would then lead to greater demands for government-imposed accountability, driving up administrative burdens and reducing the ability of child care centers to respond to the particular needs of each family.

Bourne reassures his readers that deregulation “should not be considered crazy. Many European countries have no statutory limits on staffing, with no ill effects.”