Who Cares for Preschool Children?

Jody Heymann

in Forgotten Families

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780195156591
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943333 | DOI:
Who Cares for Preschool Children?

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This chapter examines the experiences of families raising children from birth through preschool in Latin America, Asia, Europe, and North America. It reports findings from in-depth studies of more than 1,000 parents, childcare providers, and employers. When parents of preschool children used informal care provided by children and youths, their young children were more likely to experience accidents or emergencies while the parents worked. Parents who were unable to find or afford adequate childcare often brought their children to work—even when they were aware that their work environments were perilous—because they lacked any other alternative. When families used formal childcare, their children were less likely to develop behavioral or academic difficulties than when they used informal childcare. While in theory, care provided by adults in informal care settings could be of equal quality to formal settings, this was not the common experience of most parents, especially low-income families.

Keywords: preschool children; childcare centers; extended family; poor families; informal care; formal childcare

Chapter.  11440 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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