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Child Care in America

Child care is a necessity for millions of American families. Mothers of young children are working in far greater numbers than ever before, and many experts say the private market is not meeting the need for affordable, quality child care. Morning Edition examines the state of child care in America with a five-part series during the week of Dec. 4.

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  • Other Resources & Contacts

    The Cost of Child Care
    Many families say that child care isn't working for them. They say that it's too expensive, or it's unattainable, or the quality is so poor. Part I of the series looks at two families struggling with child care. One family spends more than $2,000 a month on child care. The other family -- headed by a single mother -- adjusts work hours to save money that otherwise would have to be spent on baby sitters. audio buttonListen to the report from Jason Beaubien of member station WBUR in Boston.

    The Importance of High Quality Child Care
    Experts say development from birth to age five lays the foundation for how well a child learns and grows. But few child care centers are able to provide the enrichment children need at a price most parents can afford. Part II looks at the importance of providing children with stable, challenging environments. audio button Listen as Kathryn Baron of member station KQED reports.

    A System That Works
    One institution that's been at the forefront of the effort to provide children with the high quality care they need is the United States military. A decade ago the military's child care system was a disaster. Congressional action led to an ambitious program to improve the quality of its day care and to make it affordable for all military families. audio button Listen as NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports that today the military is seen as a model child care provider.

    Looking Outward for Solutions
    This past fall in Canada, the government made good on a promise to inject $2.2 billion (Canadian) over five years into provincial child care services. The move follows an expensive and revolutionary experiment in the French-speaking province of Quebec. Three years ago, the province began offering child care for every family who wanted it, at a cost of $5 (Canadian) a day. audio button Listen as Loreen Pindera reports on how the experiment is working.

    The Politics of Child Care
    In the U.S., any push for an enlarged federal role in the care of young children faces considerable inertia from most politicians in Washington. That's because there is little evidence of public demand for vast new programs of any kind. In exit polls from the November 7th election, voters put Social Security, reducing the national debt and cutting taxes far ahead of new spending on other domestic programs. That parallels polls that specifically address child care. audio buttonListen as NPR's David Molpus reports -- in the final installment of our care series -- on the political dynamics of child care.

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    Related Web links:

  • Working Mother Magazine's National Child Care Survey
    Since 1993, Working Mother Magazine conducts a study of the cost and quality of child care. It offers an assessment of the year's accomplishments for each of the 50 states, focusing on the creation and expansion of pre kindergarten programs, safety issues, lower child-to-adult ratios, inspections, and quality of care.

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children
    The National Association for the Education of Young Children, or NAEYC, is the nation's largest accrediting body for programs for children from birth through third grade.

  • National Child Care Information Center
    The National Child Care Information Center is a project of the Child Care Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It's a national resource that links information and people to complement, enhance, and promote the child care delivery system, working to ensure that all children and families have access to high-quality comprehensive services.

  • Parents United for Child Care
    Parents United for Child Care is a Boston-based organization that aims to empower parents to effectively advocate for improvements in child care and family policy.

  • Cambridge Child Care Resource Center
    CCRC is a Massachusetts-based private, non-profit, child care resource and referral agency dedicated to making quality child care accessible to every family that needs it.

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has the latest statistical information on child care.

  • National Women's Law Center
    The National Women's Law Center has a report on the U.S. military's child care system.

  • Military Children and Youth
    The Military Children and Youth Web site is a child care resource for military families.

  • Military Family Resource Center
    A Web site for researchers seeking data on military child care programs.

  • Economic Opportunity Institute
    The Economic Opportunity Institute is a non-profit research organization that focuses on middle and low-income family issues.

  • YMCA
    The YMCA provides child care and after-school programs for some half-million children weekly.

  • Families and Work Institute

  • Child Care Action Campaign

  • The Cato Institute - Education and Child Policy

  • Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • National Black Child Development Institute

  • National Center for Early Development and Learning

  • National Child Care Information Center

  • Children's Defense Fund

  • Children's Foundation
    monitors licensing by states

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children

  • National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies

  • National Association for Family Child Care

  • Center for Career Development in Early Care and Education
    Wheelock College

  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

  • The Center for the Child Care Workforce, in D.C.
    Founder, Marcy Whitebook, 510/643-7091
    now at California Institute of Industrial Relations.
    Expert on child care workforce
    510/654-1778, UC Berkeley center for child care workforce.
    510/643-7091 - Whitebook's direct line

  • National Academy of Sciences study, From Neurons to Neighborhoods
    Director, Prof. Deborah Phillips
    Pyschology professor at Georgetown University, dept. of psychology.
    direct line is 202/687-4132
    National Academy of Sciences
    (From Neurons to Neighborhoods study)

  • Early Experience and Brain Development Network
    Director, Charles Nelson, University of Minnesota

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    Other Resources & Contacts:

  • Georgia Universal PreK -- Office of School Readiness
    10 Park Place South, Suite 200
    Atlanta, GA 30303

  • Dr. Bruce Fuller, academic child care specialist
    University of California at Berkeley

  • Harold E. Jones Child Study Center, UC Berkeley
    California Institute of Human Development
    Christine Hansel, director 510/643-5449
    Jane Perry, Research coordinator 510/642-7032

  • California Child Care Resource and Referral Network

  • Early Childhood Policy Research
    Anne Mitchell, president

  • Jean Monroe, child care trainer

  • Sharon Hawley
    California Dept. of Education. For copy of the new PreK guidelines, visit the California Dept. of Education Web site

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