Existing discourse on childcare decisions proceeds as if there were one "right" answer to the question of who should care for children. The law has preferences, too. But the reality is that parents, like businesses, make diverse, strategic decisions about when to keep work in-house, and when to collaborate with outside partners. This Article uses the lens of business outsourcing to gain fresh perspective on childcare decisionmaking, and the law's relationship to it. The outsourcing framework provides three key insights. First, it enables us to better understand the diversity of childcare decisions and the reasons underlying them. Second, the outsourcing model rejects a one-size-fits-all approach to childcare, and instead respects and values a diversity of approaches. Third, the normative value in this diversity suggests a particular role for the law in interacting with childcare decisions. The law should accommodate and support a variety of approaches, rather than take a position on the substantive content of childcare decisions. Using this benchmark, this Article critically surveys existing law impacting childcare decisions and explores how it might evolve to better support the families making these decisions.
Meredith J. Harbach, Outsourcing Childcare, 24 Yale J.L. & Feminism 254 (2012).