In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama made a historic pledge to provide universal, high-quality pre-K education to our nation’s children. He chose to make this one of his administration’s priorities with good reason: Early childhood education has myriad benefits, including better, more equitable long-term outcomes for children of divergent economic backgrounds. Moreover, investments in these programs help cultivate a future workforce, secure long-term economic competitiveness, and develop our nation’s future leaders. Universal high-quality pre-K and child care would also throw a much-needed raft to families across America that are struggling to stay afloat while footing costly child care bills, missing work to provide care, or sending their children—our nation’s future innovators and workforce—to low-quality care centers.
In response to this urgent problem, President Obama has proposed to allocate $1.4 billion in 2014 to expand public child care services, $15 billion over the next decade to expand state home-visitation programs to America’s most vulnerable families, and $75 billion over the next decade to invest in expanding access to quality preschool. This funding would help millions of parents, especially mothers, across America better balance their work and caregiving responsibilities without putting their children’s well-being or their own jobs at risk.
The service is known as day care or childcare in the United Kingdom, North America, and Australia and as crèche in Ireland and New Zealand. According to Oxford Living Dictionaries, child care in two words can in addition have the broader meaning of the care of a child by anyone, including the parents, but US dictionaries do not record that spelling or meaning. In English-speaking and other conservative countries, the vast majority of childcare is still performed by the parents, in-house nannies or through informal arrangements with relatives, neighbors or friends, but most children are in daycare centers for most of the day in Nordic Countries, for example. Child care in the child's own home is traditionally provided by a nanny or au pair, or by extended family members including grandparents, aunts and uncles. Child care is provided in nurseries or crèches or by a nanny or family child care provider caring for children in their own homes. It can also take on a more formal structure, with education, child development, discipline and even preschool education falling into the fold of services.
An important aspect that many center based child cares have been trying to implement into their mission statement and everyday routine has been of being aware of the multiple cultures they will be dealing with. This was seen as being important because of the growing numbers of families considering and seeking childcare. Childcare has become an important aspect of society since, “Over thirteen million American children under 5 years of age experience some form of child care before entering formal school.” Programs must understand similarities and differences between cultures/ ethnic groups. This must be done to understand the overall diversity of the community. Children should be able to have their cultural practices represented as well as be able to learn about other cultures they have not been exposed to. This is of great importance because it adds to their mental development and their understanding of the world.
More contemporary proposals for government advancement of day care in the United States have experienced a checkered path, for example, in 1971, the Comprehensive Child Development Act was passed by Congress, but was vetoed by Richard Nixon. It "would have created nationally funded child care centers providing early childhood services and after-school care, as well as nutrition, counseling, and even medical and dental care. The centers would charge parents on a sliding scale." Various proposals have been considered, but to date, none leading to legislation that would establish a national policy supporting day care in the United States.