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day care on children. It shows that historically mothers have typically had help raising their children, but that until recent times, that help typically came from close relatives, not programs outside the home designed for profit. The paper looks at the research and concludes that there are important differences between some day care centers and others. The best programs allow children to develop emotionally and behaviorally and produce children who are well prepared for later academic success. The research also identifies a specific group of children who would benefit from quality day care because such programs would enrich their background and better prepare them for school, but that the best programs are expensive and out of the reach of the families whose children might benefit the most from them.
Childcare can serve two purposes for a family. It can be part of the educational plan for the child, and it can be a way to allow the mothers of young children to work outside the home. The two goals are sometimes in conflict because to be educational, the childcare must be of high quality, and such programs are expensive. They are often out of reach for families where there is an economic need for the mother to work outside the home (SSUV & KLC, Inc., 1999).
HISTORY OF DAYCARE
We tend to think of day care as something new, but in fact throughout history mothers have shared the care of their children with others. Mothers in all cultures have traditionally had the help of family and friends for childcare. What has changed in modern times is who provides that assistance. High rates of employment for women have reduced the availability of family members. In addition, two historic events caused a rise in daycare facilities. The first was World War II. Women were needed to work in factories and other jobs to support the war effort, and that increased demand for daycare. After World War II, the United States population became more mobile. Mothers did not always live near family members who could help with daycare. When family members helped raise children, it was a reasonable assumption that they had a deep desire for the welfare of those children. This cannot be assumed when non-family members are used for daycare, raising concerns about the quality and long-term effects of using people outside the extended family for daycare (Jaffe, 1999).
The fact is that in 2005, childcare is done by multiple people in most families. More than 50% of mothers with children under 12 months old have jobs outside of the home. By the time the children are in school, that number rises to about 75% (SSUV & KLC, Inc., 1999). The combination of increased use of day care and increased concern about the long-term effects of daycare on developing children has raised interest in research to answer important questions about whether daycare serves children's best interests o not. While some experts assure us that good day care, with trained staff and small groups, does no harm even with infants, others argue that any day care, no matter how good, interferes with the relationship between mother and child (Bower, 1991).
The amount of research regarding effects of daycare on children has increased significantly in the last 20 years and has looked at whether the quality of the day care makes any difference, whether the amount of time spent in day care affects outcome, and whether different types of day care, such as childcare provided within homes or by relatives compared to day care centers have any difference on outcome (Vandell, 2004).
In addition, at the same time questions have been raised about the effects of day care on children, several states have instituted programs that require mothers on welfare to work, even if they have young children at home. This trend puts extra demands on day care at a time when many feel our country already lacks quality programs (SSUV & KLC, Inc., 1999).
EFFECTS OF DAYCARE
There are multiple arguments for the use of day care. One of them is that childcare allows the mother to work and helps support equality between men and women (SSUV & KLC, Inc., 1999). Of all the arguments in favor of daycare, this one may be the weakest, because it suggests that society should use it vulnerable children in a societal experiment for an outcome that would benefit the adults far more than the children…[continue]
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