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Are you concerned about the level of child care service that is provided in the United States? Are you also frustrated because you’re unable to locate quality, affordable, and local child care service? Since less than 1 out of every 3 children has a full-time, stay-at-home parent, it’s important that these children receive the early childhood education and after-school care that they need.

Providing Care for Infants and Toddlers

While it may or may not be a choice, many parents have to return to work after their maternity and parental leave period is completed. Since the age from birth to 3 years old is when children’s brains develop the fastest, it’s so important that they are being cared for in a stimulating environment.

An effective way to assist with stimulating children’s brain development is through reading aloud to them. While many parents, older siblings, and family members do read aloud to young children, recent findings indicate that only 50% of parents read to their infants and toddlers on a regular basis.

Providing Care for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Children

Recent data shows that just 6 out of 10 kindergarten programs in the United States provide full-time child care service. In other words, this means that 4 out of 10 of these programs aren’t open for full-day enrollees.This can make it exceptionally challenging for working parents to locate a quality child care service for their children.

Nearly 23.4% of children under 5 receive childcare within a formal, organized situation. This tends to include a combination of day care centers, nurseries, and preschools. It’s unclear what other types of arrangements parents may have; however, their children may be cared for by immediate or extended family members, neighbors, babysitters, or nannies.

Providing Adequate Care for Older Children

There are roughly 11.3 million children that take care of themselves once they return home from school in the afternoon. While some of these children may have the maturity to do so, others may not. Furthermore, it is not unusual in some communities for older children to care for their younger siblings.

While recent figures do show that 10.2 million children are enrolled in after-school programs, this doesn’t even come close to fulfilling the need for after-school programs. There are approximately 19.2 million children that would attend these programs, according to their parents, if they were available.

Program Availability and Affordable Daycare

Estimates indicate that just 22% of children from low-income families are receiving federally-subsidized child care. According to a 2014 Pew Research Center report, families that earn under $18,000 a year are spending roughly 40% of their income to obtain childcare. When considering families in a higher income bracket that pay 7.2% of their income, this is a disproportionate amount.

Even those families that may be able to afford quality daycare believe that the business sector, as well as the government, could and should be expending more effort to fund child care programs for working parents. A recent poll showed that over 66% of the participants indicated that they believed this.

Other Risk Factors When Children Lack a Quality Preschool Education

While every child is unique, when at-risk children don’t receive a quality preschool education, they potentially face other issues as they progress through school. According to the Ounce of Prevention Fund, these children are 25% more likely to drop out of high school. Furthermore, once they become a teenager, they are 40% more likely to become a parent, which perpetuates a multi-generational cycle for some families and communities.

The Ounce of Prevention Fund also reported that children without a solid early-childhood education are 60% more likely not to apply to, enroll in, or complete a college degree. This can greatly impact their employment and career opportunities as well as their future success. Unfortunately, these children are also 70% more apt to be arrested at some point for committing a violent crime.

Since you are clearly interested in knowing more about the benefits of early childhood education, you may also have young children. When you are actively engaged in ensuring that your children obtain the best possible educational opportunities, enrolling them in a quality daycare center is a significant step toward that goal.

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June 2024
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