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ACDC: Action Committee for Decent Childcare
by the CWLU Herstory Editorial Committee

The Action Committee for Decent Childcare (ACDC) grew out of the efforts of the CWLU's Hyde Park Chapter. Despite the media distortion that feminists were "anti-mom" or "anti-family", the women's liberation movement raised family issues from the beginning. A number of CWLU activists had children themselves and struggled with the problem of childcare everyday.

ACDC's first public appearance was a demonstration at a 1970 Chicago City Council meeting. Since there was no city budget for funding childcare centers and the notion of government funded childcare was still considered a very radical idea, ACDC focused its efforts on changing Chicago's overly restrictive licensing procedures. The unfair city licensing procedures made it difficult to set and maintain childcare centers. The City was forced to hold public meetings on the issue and ended up allowing ACDC members to sit on a committee that helped revise the city's unfair licensing regulations. It was a major victory for ACDC.

ACDC was influential in efforts to increase funding for daycare on a statewide basis and helped feminists at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle (now UIC) to establish the Circle Children's Center. They organized a "baby-in" at university administration offices complete with babies crawling around on the floor to prove the need for childcare at the university.

ACDC issued a six point program that demanded 24 hour a day free childcare in parent-staff controlled centers and that major institutions with unused space donate it to community groups for childcare. These were very radical demands, even for 1971, and the actual day to day work of ACDC focused on winning short term victories. But by raising these demands, ACDC helped to put childcare into the public spotlight.

Nevertheless, despite the best efforts of ACDC and groups like it around the country, President Nixon vetoed the Comprehensive Childcare Act of 1971. This set back efforts by grassroots organizations like ACDC to establish a rational childcare system for working parents.

See also Action Committee on Decent Childcare in our archive section