Towards the end of the 19th century, the American childcare started to have formal and informal provisions for childcare. The provisions had close associations with the immigrants, the poor and the minorities who were stigmatized. This led to a weak foundation for the development of social services in the 20th century. Women reforms were at its peak in the progressive era and childcare became something that could bring modernizations and reforms. A group of women formed a nationwide organization that has its attention on pushing for childcare and rights of women. Reformers formulated solutions for poor mothers who worked outside their homes. Childcare is the care for the young children. The provision of care is by adults who may happen to be their parents or guardians. There is informal childcare by nannies, home care providers and relatives and this happens in a home setting (Berns, pg. 16). Trained and untrained caregivers execute formal care in care center settings and schools. Childcare is a critical part in United States. Most of the infants in America receive care of more than ten hours during their early years of life. Formal childcare provides basic child hood education. Preschool, nursery and childcare programs are all activities that occur during the early stages in formal care giving.
More women are entering the workforce and this has made child care an important issues. It is different from the earliest days because women did not work outside their homes. Their work in most cases involved providing childcare and attending to house chores. Currently, the situation is different because more women are in the workplace leaving childcare to home care settings and nannies. As more women move to the workforce, there is urgent need to and necessity for affordable quality of childcare.
The current childcare system in America has divisions along class lines, which makes it difficult for parents to unite and campaign for improved services. If the class lines do not exist, it is easy for the parents to lobby for more funds allocation for the care of children in the nation. United States performs poorly in terms of childcare in comparison to the other nations of the world.
The demographics witnessed in the current workplace in America indicate that there are transformations. Women that formed the smaller population in the past now comprise of over half of the workers in the United States. The demographics go further to state that over 70% of the households has adults in the workforce. The changes lead to escalating number of workers that face conflict between their work and personal lives. Over 80 percent of women report to work on a daily basis leaving childcare to home based settings and nannies (Bls.gov). Childcare is a significant issue that affects the productivity and lives of working parents including those parents that provide essential services for the country on a daily basis. On average, a working parent misses five to ten days of work a year because of childcare problems. More parents wish they could have more time with their children in future. It costs the United States business over $3 billion a year. Childcare is one of the largest expensive ventures for families. The high cost of childcare is among the causes of family conflict. Childcare stretches the budget of families and sometimes it makes them miss other important investment opportunities. They sometimes can go without care and it leads them to depend on last minute arrangements. The conflict in families leads to loss in productivity of the working population. A mother who is experiencing domestic problems cannot perform well in her workplace. Accessible, quality and affordable childcare for toddlers, infants and school age children is important for parents to continue maintaining their healthy family and work balance. Accessible and affordable childcare allows the parents to work for the required number of hours. They can commit their resources to improve their skills through training. The trainings happen in colleges and universities and they cost much. If childcare is expensive, the parents will not have extra money to pay for their career and skills development. Affordable childcare is important in helping parents perform their jobs without absenteeism and lateness. If a parent lacks the money to pay for childcare, they will continuously arrive late at the workplace.
Quality childcare supports the ability of the parents offer their participation in the workplace. It allows the parents to have economic sufficiency and have the ability to balance the needs of their families. High quality and accessible childcare is hard to find in United States because of the market prices that favor a certain class of people in the society. Statistics continue to indicate that the cost of childcare will continue increasing making it hard for the average American to access quality childcare. Most Americans spend their income in trying to provide childcare (Rosenzweig et al., pg. 41). The high costs of childcare force the parents to make informal arrangements for their childcare. The rich and the poor take their children to different settings of childcare, which leads to the development of gaps right from the tender age. The children who receive high quality childcare have less chances of joining special education and will not have a low grade. The poor and the middle class children who receive the low quality childcare will face the difficulties.
Childcare has a greater contribution to the local economy by supporting local employers and parents. There are significant savings to the national economy and to the society in the short and long term in the investments in childcare. Research shows that investment in childcare offers high returns than any other investment. In the macroeconomic level, the researchers found that quality childcare programs led to greater gross domestic product. It contributed to the human capital contribution. Investing in childcare sets a foundation where the child will build his /him future upon. A strong foundation will guarantee supply of labor to the economy. The child starts life on the right footing. It is during the early stage in life of a child that they learn the basic laws about life.
Children who miss better foundation have a high probability of engaging in social vices like prostitution and drug abuse. They engage in such vices because of the poor foundation and poor development of the cognitive skills. The society and the community at large will feel the effect because of lack of lack of supply of labor to the community. It leads to increase in the number of juveniles. It costs the society because the funds that could go to development go into building prison facilities.
The availability of childcare affects the community development activities and goals. The increasing growth and sustainable community planning has focus on coordinating jobs, housing and transport. All these activities support the daily needs of the families (Helburn & Barbara, pg.76). The new developments overlook childcare. Accessing childcare facilities conveniently from the home and workplace is a challenge to many parents and in most cases, those parents that rely on public transport or subsidized care. The inconvenience arises when parents have to travel for long distance in cars to look for childcare. The challenge is even made worse by the congestion in the cities and increased traffic.
Addressing childcare in the community leads to the development of family friendly neighborhoods. Communities begin to engage in long range planning to ensure easy access to locations where childcare services are located. Family friendly communities plan for the facilities that the family needs including the childcare services (Aycan & Heymeht, pg. 6). Transportation, parks, hospitals and housing are among the plans that the community will consider. Intentional planning of childcare leads to better decision making in terms of development and choice of schools for the children. The awareness on the location childcare facilities helps the residents in making decisions of buying and renting homes.
Subsidized childcare will boost the United States labor participation rate by allowing women to work. To relieve the financial burden, the federal government has taken steps to increase accessibility of childcare. The recent move by the president Obama is an indicator of the commitment of the United States government in childcare. Obama has pushed for high quality nursery education for all children because he understands the importance of childcare. The results from the German study indicate that the United States government needs to increase the efforts by providing the benefits of having more women in the workplace. A study conducted by the University of Munich revealed greater government involvement would boost participation of young women in the workplace (Balter, pg. 276). The subsidies in childcare will also help in increasing the number of women who participate in the workplace. The state funded childcare is important in providing a positive effect to the child and increase in birth rate. Increase birth rate is an indicator that the society will have a continued supply of able population to replace the ageing population. the head of Social Policy and Labor Markets Department says that mother who use the public fund childcare were 35% more likely to offer their labor to the market in comparison to women who did not use the childcare public fund. The women who do not use the childcare fund abstain from the labor market and few offer part-time employment, which leads to an economic boon. The advantage of the childcare fund is that it finances itself from the taxes and social Security contributions if the mothers work. They cover the direct costs involved in childcare. Paul Conway, former chief of the Labor Department proposes that employers should increase childcare subsidies in the quest of providing quality and accessible childcare. The subsidies help the employers to recruit a competitive workforce. The Americans receive tax breaks for childcare by having various credits. The dependent care and childcare credit cover up to 35% of childcare expenses for a child (policyalmanac.org, 2014). Conway continues to note that the higher female unemployment rate is not directly related affordable childcare but because of the absence of opportunities in the current workforce. Approximately 10 % of young women in the United States aged from 18-30 do not have employment (Holzer, pg.245).
The government should formulate policies that drive its citizens to have quality affordable care. The government should aim at providing flexible childcare plans that will allow parents from all spheres of life have access to care. It should ensure the Child Expanded Credit of 2009 is permanent and that it serves the poor families. The awareness of the importance of childcare should happen throughout the states. It should happen especially to the low-income families because childcare helps in alleviating poverty and diseases in the society. The payment of childcare workers should be increased so that they can deliver quality childcare. The curriculum for the preschool and early childhood development teachers should comprise all the essential elements involved in childcare. Increasing their wages is also an important thing in ensuring that they deliver quality childcare. The government should promote adequate training to the childcare workers. Adequate funding of childcare programs will ensure that women will increase their participation in the workplace which will translate to improvement in productivity if businesses. The president Obama`s preschool and early childhood education initiative should receive support. Increasing the access of child support ensures that the families increase their participation in the workplace.
Childcare remains a challenge to many nations of the world. Most governments of the world realize that improved childcare results to an increased participation of women in the workforce and vice versa. The economy of the country depends on the quality and the ability of the workforce it possess. Competent workforce can go to the workplace of they have the assurance of affordable, quality and accessible childcare.
Aycan, Zeynep, and Mehmet Eskin. "Relative contributions of childcare, spousal support, and organizational support in reducing work–family conflict for men and women: The case of Turkey." Sex roles 53.7-8 (2005): 453-471.
Balter, Lawrence. Parenthood in America: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2000. Print.
Berns, Roberta. Child, Family, School, Community: Socialization and Support. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
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Helburn, Suzanne W, and Barbara R. Bergmann. America's Child Care Problem: The Way Out. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Print.
Holzer, Harry J. Reshaping the American Workforce in a Changing Economy. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2007. Print.
Policyalmanac.org,. 'Child Care'. N. p., 2014. Web. 22 May. 2014.
Rosenzweig, Julie M., et al. "Child care and employed parents of children with emotional or behavioral disorders." Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders 16.2 (2008): 78- 89.