Impact and Cost of Child Care on Single Parents Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Child Care on Single Parents

Over the past several years, more single parents with children, mostly women, have joined the workforce (Ford, 1995). As a result, childcare has become an extremely important social policy issue. Many single parents, particularly those with low incomes, find it difficult to finance the cost of decent childcare.

In addition, poor quality of childcare has become an increasingly significant problem in the United States. Low wages for childcare workers result in high turnover and inexperienced childcare providers.

As more and more single parents have moved, by necessity or choice, from the home into the workforce, the need for affordable, quality childcare has become a crucial social issue. However, this need often goes unmet. As a result, there is an enormous impact and cost placed on single parents.

Recent research reveals that 71% of parents reprimanded for child neglect did not have enough money to pay a babysitter (CEED, 1992). In addition, only 11% of parents referred for child neglect have access to childcare services. One study reveals that 67% of single mothers say difficulties locating decent childcare interfered with their finding and keeping a job. Also, 76% of single mothers eventually gave up looking for work due to childcare difficulties.

Due to the pressures on single parents and the lack of affordable quality childcare, many single parents are forced to put their children in inadequate, or possibly dangerous, childcare settings. In addition, nearly seven million children are left unsupervised after school, contributing to increased rates of drug use and crime among the children in the U.S.

Goals and Objectives

Many single parents find that there are few available childcare facilities that allow them to meet their individual and family's needs (Ford, 1995, p. 213-218). In many cases, there are few available jobs that allow them to pay for good childcare When a person is alone and has children to support, part-time work at minimum wage does not provide enough income to pay for rent, groceries, children's clothing, and good childcare.

In many states, the average annual income for part-time work is about $16,000. However, even if a single parent with two children works full-time at minimum wage, she will spend 98% of her annual income on food and shelter alone. The lack of quality and affordable childcare makes single parents feel like they are prisoners of social assistance.

As single parents are raising more and more children, affordable, quality group and family childcare services are becoming less and less accessible to families (National Women's Law Center, 1999). Quality childcare is expensive and often beyond the financial resources of single parents, particularly those with low incomes.

While recent federal legislation has made efforts to increase the availability of affordable childcare, there remains a large gap in the availability of affordable childcare in the United States.

Because the impact of the quality and cost of childcare on single parents is increasingly become a social problem in the U.S., the goal of this paper is to address the problem at hand and brainstorm for ideas to relieve the pressure of single parents. This paper aims to identify the key aspects of this issue and pinpoint the two areas of childcare that need immediate attention -- quality and cost. This paper also aims to identify potential solutions to the problem.

Significance of the Problem

In the U.S. childcare expenses range between $4,000 to $10,000 a year per child, which can be a prohibitive factor for single parents, especially those with low incomes. According to CHN (2003), "more than one of every four families with young children earns less than $25,000 per year, while a two-parent family in which both adults work full time for minimum wage salaries earns a combined income of only $21,400 a year." At these rates, childcare expenses often cost one third or more of the entire household budget.

For single parents, childcare costs can pose a significant barrier to entering the workforce. In many cases, single parents to have a hard time finding affordable, safe care in close proximity to their homes or work that meet their scheduling requirements.

Even if single parents are able to find a childcare program that is affordable and meets their individual needs, there are faced with another problem -- the quality of childcare. Many affordable childcare solutions have unsafe environments, including unsanitary conditions and a lack of supervision.

These factors pose significant threats to a child's well-being and cognitive development. A recent study estimated that 7 out of 10 child care centers provide mediocre care, and that one of eight are so bad that they threaten the health and safety of the children that attend them.

Basically, single parents face a double-edged sword when it comes to childcare. If they manage to find affordable care and come up with the money to pay for it, they often must settle for low quality care.

For this reason, many single parents are reluctant to work or attend school because they fear the effects of poor childcare on their children. Many others are forced to pay half or more of their incomes to send their children to quality childcare places.

The cost of childcare today is so high that has had a prohibitive impact on single parents, leaving them with little choice in how their family is managed (CEED, 1992). Even for those with higher incomes, finding quality childcare is difficult, reducing options for these parents as well.

If quality childcare were affordable and available, many social problems would be solved. For one, single parents who wanted to work would not be forced to stay home because of their lack of options (CEED, 1992).

Also, single parents would not need to spend great amounts of their income on childcare, leaving money for a better lifestyle. In addition, single parents would have the freedom to choose the quality and style of childcare they wish for their child.

The American culture promotes the rights of all individuals to live their lives freely. Therefore, equal access to quality childcare is a key factor in having freedom of choice of lifestyle for single parents.

Community Involvement

One of the first steps that must be taken to resolve this social issue is to increase community involvement. Stronger linkages of programs to community agencies and organizations could be highly effective in reducing the costs of childcare, while improving the quality. Government agencies alone cannot be expected to solve this major problem alone. Communities must increase the efforts and put pressure on both the government agencies and childcare facilities.

Another important aspect of community involvement is creating more family-friendly workplaces. To assist local school districts and community organizations in strengthening collaboration, federal, state and local government agencies and community groups must act together to promote cooperative services and to develop greater capacity to provide comprehensive childcare services for single parents.

Mobilizing the Media and Officials

Community involvement also involves getting reporters out in the communities to listen and report. If each community is able to attract the interest of reporters and get them to print stories on the problems involved with childcare, a wider network is opened and more opportunities for change are presented.

Federal, state and local government officials can help communities improve their childcare services and offer support to single parents with young children by initiating systematic efforts to support local change. These officials can help solve this social problem by removing obstacles created by inefficient funding patterns and restrictive regulations, and by mobilizing other sectors, including business and the media, to make the needs of single parents with young children a high priority.

Federal agencies can help by establishing opportunities to create a more efficient delivery system for childcare services. State agencies play an important role, as well, as they establish the framework for community action. In addition, state agencies provide support for affordable childcare and quality control. Finally, it is up to local agencies to size up the problem, mobilize communities, and get results.

Solutions and Policy Recommendations

There are a number of solutions that could benefit single parents who are hindered by a lack of quality, affordable childcare. Services such as part-time childcare, infant care, and after-school facilities are often unavailable in communities yet would provide tremendous benefits to single parents.

Quality of care is a major concern for single parents, who often cannot afford expensive childcare solutions. There are a number of programs that could assist in this area if social policies were implemented to make quality childcare a mandatory requirement in all states. New social policies could require that training must be a requirement for local childcare centers. In addition, childcare internships for students would allow more help at childcare facilities at no additional cost.

Universities and large corporations could provide a major relief for single parents by partnering with local childcare facilities to offer childcare services at a reduced cost to their students and employees. Perhaps, these organizations could even allocate space for a childcare center to cater to…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Impact And Cost Of Child Care On Single Parents" (2003, April 06) Retrieved October 26, 2016, from

"Impact And Cost Of Child Care On Single Parents" 06 April 2003. Web.26 October. 2016. <>

"Impact And Cost Of Child Care On Single Parents", 06 April 2003, Accessed.26 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Case Study on Implementing Company Sponsored Childcare

    President, Harper Supply Company The possibility of providing child care assistance to employees Since we last spoke I have been conducting extensive research into the matter of providing some form of child care assistance to the employees of Harper Industries. Needless to say, I have read much, studied much, and learned much. The final form of this reading, studying, and learning is attached to this memorandum. As you know, we had a very

  • Parenting Program for Women and

    There are many of these individuals, and it is time that this is changed. Parents often look away from these kinds of problems, or they spend their time in denial of the issue because they feel that their child will not be harmed by parental involvement with drugs or alcohol. Some parents have parents that were/are addicts themselves, and some are so busy with their lives that they do not

  • Parenting in the 21st Century

    For example, Walker and Hennig add that, "It has frequently been found that children (particularly boys) in divorced, mother-custody families exhibit lower levels of well-being than children in intact families, with more externalizing and internalizing behavior problems and lower levels of cognitive and social competence" (p. 64). My son is also currently at a formative period that has special significance for single-parents families. For instance, Walker and Hennig also

  • Establishing a Child Care Facility

    Operating costs and future sales may be difficult to predict because there is no history to rely on since the business is not established. The single biggest disadvantage of starting a new business is the unknown. There are many rules, regulations, statutes and taxes that the owner may not be aware of at the time the business is opened. A new business owner may have a product that is

  • Parenting Education for Teen Mothers if a

    Parenting Education for Teen Mothers If a community values its children, it must cherish their parents. (John Bowlby) Rationale of intervention population Group based intervention programs Multi-purpose programs Teen Mother Empowerment Program Series (TMEPS) Framework of TMEPS Program-Fig Fig 2-Phased TMEPS Phase 1 sessions Table 1- Session Administration Lesson Plans Evaluation of program outcomes Follow-up plan Continuation of TEMPS Appendix II-Program Evaluation Questionnaire This paper is aimed at presenting a parenting education and support program for teenage mothers. To identify the most basic needs of

  • Parenting Classes for New Moms and Dads

    Parenting Classes for New Moms and Dads Parenthood is a task that needs proper planning and total commitment among the couples who have decided to form families. It is a transition that comes with many changes and challenges which many new parents find hard to adjust to. It is a commitment which spells out boundaries and certain aspects of life styles that have to change when people become together to form

  • Child Welfare Biased in System

    Nor is she eligible to receive Medicaid, based on her minimum wage income. This has put the minimum wage earning single parent in a situation where she must devote her minimum wage to food and healthcare, if healthcare is available to her through her job, and, if it is not, she becomes medically uninsured. TANF now allows states money to.".. spend their share of federal block grant funds ($16.38 billion annually)

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved