Childcare Issues

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July 16, 1996 EvaS : Our guests are Judsen Culbreth and Catherine Cartwright of Working Mother magazine. Our topic is their annual, state by state, childcare report.

JCulbreth : What state does everyone live in?

Booshka013 : I live in Oregon

EvaS : <--NY

WLV Sage : <-- CA

Justwestie : RI- kids in child care in Mass.

JCulbreth : <----NY

CCartwr105 : also NY

RN OB : Illinois

DXSMac : Hi, Atlanta, GA.

JCulbreth : There are some of our best states represented here. The reason it's important to look at the states is because the federal government is turning over child care money and power to the states. The states are now the 800-pound gorilla of child care.

EvaS : Judsen, does this mean that we'll have better or worse child care facilities?

JCulbreth : It depends on where you live. Some states are awful, some try hard. All could do better.

CCartwr105 : That's why we want to help parents learn what's going on in their home state.

EvaS : Why is childcare outside the home increasingly important?

JCulbreth : Because 70 percent of mothers work.

Booshka013 : How about in OR?

JCulbreth : Oregon is good in some areas. For example, they are very good on ratios ... the number of children one adult can care for. However, they require no training for center directors. :(

EvaS : What did couples do before there were such childcare facilities? After all, women have worked outside the home for ages.

JCulbreth : Child care has been around at least since WWII. In fact, it was great for Rosie the Riveter. Before that, parents had servants and they used relatives.

EvaS : Why did you start doing this report four years ago? It's very informative and detailed. Why do you feel there's a need for this kind of information?

JCulbreth : In factories at the turn of the century, mothers used to bundle their kids and hang them on hooks. We began the report because we felt parents needed more info. Also, we wanted to publicize the problems.

EvaS : Is this report unique? Or can others like it be found somewhere?

JCulbreth : Yes, this information had never been gathered in this way. It's rather amazing!

EvaS : Very!! What kinds of information is included?

JCulbreth : Can you imagine turning over billions of dollars and not requiring major reporting?

EvaS : No, I can't, actually. :(

CCartwr105 : We have details on safety, availability, quality, and commitment (of political leaders). Each heading has subcategories -- e.g. under safety, we looked at playground equipment, immunizations, handwashing requirements and more.

EvaS : What criteria did you use for each category?

JCulbreth : Quality concerned caregiver training. Safety was about physical safety and supervision. There are states that let one adult care for 12 infants!

EvaS : Oh, my...:/

JCulbreth : Yes, it's practically child abuse.

EvaS : What did you find this time around? Any changes from previous years? Any surprises?

CCartwr105 : Under availability, we looked at special efforts states make to increase the amount of care.

JCulbreth : This report was more detailed. But the same states that were good 4 years ago were also the best this year. Change is slow. The biggest surprise is that the federal government is turning over more and more money to these incompetent states.

EvaS : That's really terrible. Which are the highest ranking states in child care provisions?

JCulbreth : California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Mass., MN, VT, Washington, Wisconsin.

CCartwr105 : Those are the top 10 (in alpha order).

EvaS : Judsen, I see NY is not among the top ten. I'm surprised, really.

JCulbreth : Why? Do you ever hear any news about child care initiatives?

EvaS : No, I don't. You're right.

JCulbreth : It's is not on the political agenda, except when it relates to welfare reform.

EvaS : Yes, true.

RN OB : In the best states, what is the child/teacher ratios? Say 3 year olds?

CCartwr105 : Best ratios for threes, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, is 4 to 6 toddlers per adult. 7 to 10 preschoolers for one adult.

EvaS : Judsen, how do you go about gathering this information? Who supplies you with it?

JCulbreth : The National Association for the Education of Young Children sets standards. We went to each state for their numbers.

EvaS : I see.

CCartwr105 : We spoke to people working in child care in every state, plus national advocates.

EvaS : Are there actually programs that train caregivers for children?

JCulbreth : Yes, organizations and colleges.

CCartwr105 : It can range from a few hours of videotapes to a college degree.

JCulbreth : Caregivers need to know about child development. They need to know CPR.

EvaS : Yes, for sure. And many of them don't have this training?

CCartwr105 : About half of states don't require any training at all for family child care providers.

EvaS : How can we find out if the child care program we're entering our child into is accredited?

JCulbreth : They will tell you if they are accredited by NAEYC. There is a difference between being accredited and licensed. In some states, your dog may have better protection than your child.

EvaS : Judsen, same is true for many more dog shelters than battered women shelters. :( Judsen, tell us what the difference is between accredited and licensed, please.

JCulbreth : Accreditation means that you have met very strict standards, standards nationally accepted. Licensed means that you have met some standards.

RN OB : I was at my 3 year old daughters child care today. They we're having swimming lessons and I had to do CPR on a 2yo who nearly drowned. Only one other person knew CPR!

WLV Sage : Yikes, RN!

CCartwr105 : RN, how scary. Thank goodness you were there.

EvaS : RN, how awful!! RN, was that one other person a caregiver??

RN OB : It has been a very emotional day. No, the other person was a lifeguard.

JCulbreth : RN, the reason I care so much about these issues is that tragedies happen. I'll never forget the mom who wrote me because her son drowned in a hot tub in an unlicensed daycare.

EvaS : Oh, my, Judsen. How terrible. :(

RN OB : Child care is one reason I feel so guilty about working.

EvaS : What if there is no accredited program in our area? What would you suggest we look for? And is there some central resource we can call?

READ MORE ABOUT IT: Child Care Issues (rev. 7/9/96 - jlc)

[NOTE: These brief bibliographies are not intended to be an exhaustive treatment of a topic .... instead they are intended to provide a starting place for reading on the topic.]

Berry, Mary Frances. The Politics of Parenthood : Child Care, Women's Rights, and the Myth of the Good Mother. New York, Viking, 1993.

Booth, Alan. Child Care in the 1990s : Trends and Consequences. Hillsdale, NJ, L. Erlbaum Assoc., 1992.

Carpenter, Kathryn H. Sourcebook on Parenting and Child Care. Phoenix, AZ, Oryx Press, 1995.

Cochran, Moncrieff. International Handbook of Child Care Policies and Programs. Westport, CT, Greenwood Press, 1993.

Elving, Ronald D. Conflict and Compromise : How Congress Makes the Law. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1995. [About the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.]

Fuchs, Victor R. Individual and Social Responsibility : Child Care, Education, Medical Care, and Long-Term Care in America. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Gormley, William T. Everybody's Children : Child Care as a Public Problem. Washington, D.C., Brookings Institution, 1995.

Jensen, Mary A. Visions of Entitlement : the Care and Education of America's Children. Albany, NY, State University of New York Press, 1993.

Kamerman, Sheila B. Starting Right : How America Neglects Its Youngest Children and What We Can Do About It. New York, Oxford University Press, 1995.

Keita, Gwendolyn P. Job Stress in a Changing Workforce : Investigating Gender, Diversity, and Family Issues. Washington, DC, American Psychological Association, 1994.

Leach, Penelope. Children First : What Our Society Must Do -- And Is Not Doing -- For Our Children Today. New York, Knopf, 1994.

Lerner, Jacqueline V. Working Women and Their Families. Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage Publications, 1994.

Levering, Robert. The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America. New York, Currency/Doubleday, 1993. [Includes list of "Companies where you can get childcare at your workplace."]

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Small Business. Who's Minding the Baby? Quality and Availability Problems in Child Care for America's Children. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1995.

Wrigley, Julia. Other People's Children. New York, Basic Books, 1995.

Youcha, Geraldine. Minding the Children : Child Care in America From Colonial Times to the Present. New York, Scribner's, 1995.

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