CHILDREN IN EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION PROGRAMS
All families with children need child care at one time or another, and increasingly, parents seek child care so they can work outside of the home. During the past two decades, the proportion of mothers of young children entering the labor force nearly doubled, reaching 68% in 1992, with a concomitant dramatic increase in the number of children younger than 5 years who receive some form of out-of-home child care. Currently, about 80% of children entering school have had regular care in either child care centers (nonresidential settings that provide care and education for any number of children), nursery schools or preschools, their own homes, the homes of relatives, or, most frequently, family day cane homes (the homes of the care givers in which care and education are provided for either a small [1 to 6] or large [7 to 12] number of children). The types of child care arrangements and the extent to which they are used vary according to the child's age and the income, education, and employment status of the parents. Older preschool children, children whose mothers have more than high school educations, and children whose families' incomes are higher are more likely to be enrolled in center-based care. Unemployed parents also tend to use care in centers rather than cane in the child's or another family's home, presumably because subsidized center-based child care programs are available for them. Overall, however, poor families are less likely to make use of preschool programs for their 3- to 4-year-old children than are more affluent families.
- Copyright © 1996 by the American Academy of Pediatrics