In almost half of all states, the cost of child care exceeds the average rent payment, meaning that too many families with young children end up struggling to make ends meet. In 2011, the latest year for which data are available, the average family with a working mother and a child under age 5 that made child care payments spent nearly 10 percent of its total family income on child care. While that may not sound like an overwhelming burden, it ends up amounting to nearly a quarter—22.5 percent—of married mothers’ earnings, and more than a quarter—26.1 percent—of never-married mothers’ incomes. (see Table 1)
As you seek to make one of the most important decisions you will ever make, review the Choosing Quality Child Care brochure to gain insight in selecting child care that can promote healthy social, emotional, physical and intellectual development for your child. In addition, you are also encouraged to take time to explore the Learn About Child Day Care chart which explains the various types of child care available in Virginia and how they are regulated.
There are links between the income, education, and importance of consistency and the well being of the child, to the parents, and the development of their child. Higher educated parents place more importance on the education of their children than the parents who do not have a college degree or have not graduated from high school. Likewise, parents who have a higher income level are more willing to part with their money to purchase a private tutor or nanny to assist the parent in the education of their child. They also tend to stress the importance of being socially inept.[31] The first few years of a child's life are important to form a basis for good education, morality, self-discipline and social integration. Consistency of approach, skills and qualifications of caregivers have been shown in many studies to improve the chances of a child reaching his or her full potential. Child care in much of western society is currently in crisis: there are not enough daycare spots, the cost for most parents is beyond their means, and child care staff are grossly underpaid. Starting wages for Early Childcare Educators start at $11 or $12, causing a high turnover rate, and decreases the likelihood of potentially safe, effective, and loving child care providers from even entering the field. For preschool teachers the average salary is about $28,570.[35] According to a survey done by HiMama, 68% of for-profit child care organizations ranked 'Labor' as their top risk and 65% ranked 'Talent and Recruitment' as their top priority for 2017.[36]
Additionally, legislation typically defines what constitutes daycare (e.g., so as to not regulate individual babysitters). It may specify details of the physical facilities (washroom, eating, sleeping, lighting levels, etc.). The minimum window space may be such that it precludes day cares from being in a basement. It may specify the minimum floor space per child (for example 2.8 square metres) and the maximum number of children per room (for example 24). It may mandate minimum outdoor time (for example 2 hours for programs 6 hours or longer). Legislation may mandate qualifications of supervisors. Staff typically do not require any qualifications but staff under the age of eighteen may require supervision. Some legislation also establishes rating systems, the number and condition of various toys, and documents to be maintained.[68] Typically[citation needed], once children reach the age of twelve, they are no longer covered by daycare legislation and programs for older children may not be regulated.
More specifically, further research indicates that children being cared for by siblings or similarly-aged children (a trend more commonly seen in agriculturally-based cultural communities) have certain psychological and developmental effects on those being cared for. These effects include but are not limited to: mother-child attachment, emergence of childhood developmental stages, formation of playgroups, development of social responsibility, sex differences, personality differences, cognition, and motivation and performance in the classroom.[2]
Access to child care is essential to a woman’s ability to participate in the workforce, and a lack of access to child care affects the work-family balance of both women and men. Women need to have the ability to make the choices that are best for them and their families in both the short and long term, and greater national investments in child care and preschool programs could help remove some of the constraints that may push mothers toward decisions that have negative economic consequences for them and their families down the road. It would make quality care more affordable for American families and support mothers’ employment.

The majority of parents now work, regardless of the age of their children. Parents are workers and workers are parents, both out of necessity and preference: 70.5 percent of mothers are in the labor force, including 64.8 percent of mothers with a child under the age of 6. That’s in large part because many families in today’s economy rely on two incomes in order to pay the bills. In fact, the only married-couple families that have seen real income growth over the past 30 years are families where both parents work.
However, for-profit day care corporations often exist where the market is sufficiently large or there are government subsidies. For instance, in North America, KinderCare Learning Centers, one of the largest of such companies, has approximately 1,600 centers located in 39 states and the District of Columbia.[65] Bright Horizons Family Solutions another of the largest has over 600 daycare centers.[66] Similarly the Australian government's childcare subsidy has allowed the creation of a large private-sector industry in that country.[67]
The National Institute of Health released a study in March, 2007 after following a group of children through early childhood to the 6th grade.[91] The study found that the children who received a higher quality of childcare scored higher on 5th grade vocabulary tests than the children who had attended childcare of a lower quality. The study also reported that teachers found children from childcare to be "disobedient", fight more frequently, and more argumentative. The study reported the increases in both aggression and vocabulary were small. "The researchers emphasized that the children’s behavior was within the normal range and were not considered clinically disordered."
Our tuition based preschool programs use the Connect 4 Learning curriculum with an emphasis on S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) to promote innovative thinking in our young learners. We offer a literacy rich program which includes oral language development, rhyme, writing, and phonemic awareness. We believe children learn through play and hands-on experiences. We place an enormous value on the role of the environment as a motivating force for creative learning. Each preschool classroom environment is equipped with these interest areas: dramatic play, blocks, art, sand/water sensory table, math manipulatives/puzzles and games, music and movement, science and STEAM stations. Outdoor play time, library, technology and cooking activities are included in our daily schedules. We recognize class size is another crucial factor in educating young children. Our preschool class sizes will not exceed 16 children in a classroom. Smaller class sizes mean we are able to provide more individualized instruction to our preschoolers during our small group times and throughout our preschool day.
Child Care Connections is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves as the only child care resource and referral agency in Gallatin, Park, Meagher, Broadwater, Jefferson, and Lewis and Clark Counties. Research demonstrates that consistent nurturing child care, with good parenting, helps children develop to their full potential. Child Care Connections supports families and the local economy by encouraging quality child care and safety.
Be sure that the preschool or child care program you are looking into is operating according to the minimum requirements set by your local government. Some programs require licensing, while others may not. I know of a few amazing programs across the U.S. that are not licensed, but are still legal and would be wonderful options for families. It's important that parents do research, get referrals, look up ratings (if available), and truly find out what goes on inside of any program they have decided upon.
All childcare workers must have, or be undertaking, the minimum "Certificate III in Children's Services" in order to work in a centre (Recognition of Prior Learning is available to help qualify staff with many years experience, but no qualifications). (Common more advanced qualifications are "Diploma of Children's Services" and an Early Childhood Education degree).
If you are looking for child care, the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCRR) in your county is a great place to start. To provide this service, CCRR agencies collect and maintain up-to-date information about all types of legal child care programs in their areas. CCRR counselors can provide you with information about various types of programs, costs, financial assistance and guidelines for selecting child care, but the final choice is always your responsibility as a parent. If you want help finding child care or have questions about child care, contact your local CCRR. They will ask you about the kind of care you are looking for, the ages of your children, the hours of care you need and other specifics such as any special needs your child might have. Based on that information, they will be able to give you a list of providers that most closely meet your needs.
Australia has a large child care industry,[73] however in many locations (especially in inner-city suburbs of large cities and in rural areas) the availability is limited and the waiting periods can be up to several years.[74] The Australian government's Child Care Subsidy[75] scheme provides generous assistance with child care costs, but this still leaves many families with a large out of pocket expense. The median weekly cost of centre-based long day care in 2013 was approximately A$364[76] which puts it out of the reach of lower income earners.[77]
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In the United States, childcare in regulated commercial or family childcare home setting is administered or led by teachers who may have a Child Development Associate or higher credentials. These higher credentials include Associate, Bachelor, and even master's degrees in the field of Early Childhood Education (ECE). Although childcare professionals may obtain a degree, many states require that they attend workshops yearly to upgrade their knowledge and skill levels. Many day cares require a teacher to obtain a certain amount of training. For example, Texas requires a minimum of 25 hours a year, and the first year as a teacher, you are required to have 50 hours.

In Germany, preschool education is the domain of the Kindertagesstätte (literally "children's day site", often shortened to Kita or KITA), which is usually divided into the Kinderkrippe (crèche) for toddlers (age up to 3 years), and the Kindergarten for children who are older than three years and before school. Children in their last Kindergarten year may be grouped into a Vorschule ("preschool") and given special pedagogic attention; special preschool institutions comparable to the US-American kindergarten are the exception.
Finding and choosing the licensed child care, preschool or schoolage only setting that is right for your child and family can be challenging. Great Start to Quality makes your search for licensed child care, preschool and schoolage only programs easier, gives you tips to make an informed decision and the confidence of knowing you chose the care in your area that best suits your family’s needs.  
A care-penalty is the price one pays for doing care work for a family member. Care giving demands a lot out of an individual, and as a result there is a high opportunity cost. The opportunity cost can relate to both time and money. Instead of taking care of a family member, a caregiver could spend time working or performing more leisure activities. Care penalties are not strictly related to childcare- they can also refer to taking care of a sick family member, babysitting a younger sibling, or taking an elderly family member on errands such as grocery shopping or doctor's appointments.
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