Day-Care Needs

May 6, 1983

Report Outline
Current Supply and Demand
Federal Role in Day Care
Responses to Growing Need
Special Focus

Current Supply and Demand

Search for Affordable and Quality Care

The choice was a grim one. Informed that the day-care center serving her two preschool children had closed and having no one else to care for them, a Wichita, Kan., woman left the children, aged 3 and 4, in her car parked outside the factory where she worked. Had she stayed home, she would have risked being fired for unjustified absence.

Not every case is so extreme, but just about every working mother has her own horror story to tell about the problems of obtaining adequate, affordable day care for her children. In a society where mobility is a way of life, few working parents live close to relatives or friends willing to tend their children. In most communities, day-care centers cannot begin to accommodate all the children needing care, and the more informal, family-based providers can usually be located only by word of mouth. Many families find no affordable child-care arrangements at all, and millions of children are left to fend for themselves until their parents return from work.

Tracking down day-care facilities is only part of the problem. Parents also hope to find as warm, stimulating and homelike an environment as possible in which to leave their children for the better part of the day. But the issue of quality of care assumes different meanings for different parents. For middle-income families able to pay for day care without public assistance, the problem is serious enough, as the search for acceptable care is often a frustrating process of trial and error. For the growing number of poor parents, especially single mothers, the choices are even more limited, and cost must often take precedence over the quality of care provided.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Child Care
Jul. 20, 2018  Foster Care
May 08, 1998  Child-Care Options
Dec. 17, 1993  Child Care
May 06, 1983  Day-Care Needs
Jun. 14, 1972  Child Care
Jul. 07, 1965  Child Day Care and Working Mothers
Work and the Family