Starting Right: How America Neglects Its Youngest Children and What We Can Do about It

By Sheila B. Kamerman; Alfred J. Kahn | Go to book overview

6 Infant and Toddler Care and Education

Over the past two decades, child care has moved to the forefront of the national child and family policy agenda, and the issue has been redefined. Child care has been transformed from a concern with children with "special" needs in the late 1960s and early 1970s (children who were abused and neglected, cognitively deprived, from dysfunctional families, or of poor, working mothers) to a primary concern with that majority of children who have a working sole parent or two parents. The child care system as a whole continues to take account of special needs as well.

For our purposes here, child care services include all types of out-of- home, nonrelative care of children under compulsory school age, whether in centers, family day care homes, or schools. In the United States, the major functions of these services, in no particular order, have been to provide care for the children of working mothers/parents generally; to provide care for the children of welfare-dependent and low-income mothers so as to facilitate movement off the welfare rolls and into the workforce; to provide special help, care, or compensatory education and socialization experiences for dependent, troubled, deprived and disadvantaged children; and to provide children with an opportunity for early childhood education, socialization, and development. We shall emphasize the new interest in infant and toddler care with respect to even the last of these functions.

Good-quality child care services can make a major contribution to child development and school readiness. At the same time, child care programs are a critical link in the family-work nexus.

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Starting Right: How America Neglects Its Youngest Children and What We Can Do about It
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Tables xi
  • 1 - Starting Right: The First Three Years 3
  • 2 - Developing a Strategy 20
  • 3 - Toward Economic Security 41
  • 4 - Time for Parenting 69
  • 5 - A Healthy Start 91
  • 6 - Infant and Toddler Care and Education 125
  • 7 - Family Support Services: Helping Parents to Be Better Parents 151
  • 8 - Getting Started on Starting Right 181
  • Notes 201
  • Appendixes 215
  • Index 219
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