Everybody's Children: Child Care as a Public Problem

Everybody's Children: Child Care as a Public Problem

Everybody's Children: Child Care as a Public Problem

Everybody's Children: Child Care as a Public Problem

Synopsis

In this important book, William T. Gormley, Jr., argues that child care is a social problem of critical importance and that there are compelling reasons for government intervention. Because child care quality affects how children grow up - for better or for worse - the government has a responsibility to improve and reshape the child care system. Gormley offers a balanced, comprehensive analysis of market, government, and societal failures to ensure quality child care in the United States. He finds that unreliable child care contributes to family stress and undermines efforts to achieve educational readiness, welfare reform, and gender equity; that regulators and family support agencies do not distinguish sharply enough between good and bad child care facilities; and that government and businesses provide inadequate financial and logistical support. As a result, children suffer, as does society as a whole. Everybody's Children presents evidence on how different states and communities have responded to child care challenges. Gormley prescribes the roles to be played by federal, state, and local governments, for-profit and nonprofit child care providers, churches, schools, and family support agencies. He offers a number of reform strategies and argues that different levels of government and societal institutions must work together to achieve the goals of efficiency, justice, choice, discretion, coordination, and responsiveness - and, ultimately, to create the best system possible for our children.

Excerpt

Despite occasional bursts of attention, child care has not yet secured a firm niche on the public agenda. It captures headlines and triggers public policy debates when a Cabinet nominee who made hasty arrangements to care for a child is rejected, when a judge penalizes a mother for having placed her child in day care while earning a degree, or when child abuse at a day care center disrupts the tranquility of a small town. For the most part, though, child care remains a private headache, only fitfully addressed by public policies.

It is not as if people never think about child care. Parents of young children fret constantly about it. They ask whether they can afford child care or a particular child care arrangement. They wish they knew how to choose a good provider from a list of unfamiliar names and facilities. They dread the possibility that their favorite provider will quit. They worry about what will happen if relatives are not available to pinch-hit in an emergency. and they wonder if they are doing the best they can for their children.

Historically, child care in the United States has been a private issue, to be resolved within the family or community. When a problem arises, surely grandma will come to the rescue. and if grandma is not available . . .

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