The child care industry is a complex system of nonprofit and for-profit businesses that provides care to infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children in a variety of settings. It includes day care centers, in-home day care and a range of licensed child care programs. It is supported by a patchwork of federal and state subsidies, and most of its providers are small businesses and nonprofits owned by women.
Early Childhood Development
For children under age five, child care can have a powerful impact on their social, emotional and cognitive development. Studies show that a quality early learning environment can help a child develop more quickly and learn more effectively than children who do not have access to good child care.
There are a variety of child care options available, from traditional licensed childcare centers to family child care, in-home child care and even childcare services offered by friends or relatives. Choosing the right child care program for your needs will depend on your budget and what you expect from your child’s care provider.
Child care costs vary widely and can be expensive for many families. A recent study showed that for many families, child care costs can be more than housing, college tuition, transportation and food.
A parent’s salary is the most important factor in determining whether a family can afford to pay for child care. The average family earning less than $15,000 a year can usually find subsidized child care in a center or an in-home day care. Families with higher incomes may have to pay more out-of-pocket for child care.
Despite these financial barriers, the research shows that children who are enrolled in high-quality child care have better social and academic outcomes than those who do not. Researchers have found that young children who are in high-quality care spend more time engaged with responsive, warm, and sensitive caregivers. They also are surrounded with rich language use and have a high ratio of caregivers to children.
Day Carecenters are a great option for busy parents who need consistent, reliable child care services. These centers provide infant care through Kindergarten, and can offer a variety of schedules that fit your needs. Some also offer a secure online video feed for your baby.
Other Caregiving Opportunities
During the 19th century, there were many informal child-care arrangements and institutions. These included sitters who were paid to watch babies and young children, such as nannies, governesses, and nursery school teachers. There were also a number of charitable organizations that operated child-care centers, such as the National Federation of Day Nurseries and the American Association of Day Nurseries.
In the twentieth century, child care was increasingly recognized as a crucial part of social services. It became a focal point for women’s reform movements, and its availability was increasingly viewed as a public policy issue. During the Cold War, women’s rights advocates, labor leaders and civil rights activists fought for a universal child care policy.