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A final option for accessing child care is utilizing programs funded or subsidized by states and the federal government. Unfortunately, while it may seem as though this must be a viable option for families who do not want to lose a co-breadwinner’s earnings or for those who can’t afford private care, the United States still has a long way to go on this front.
Most families currently have three options for securing child care. First, parents can stay at home and care for their children themselves. But this is increasingly difficult, as most families now rely on two breadwinners to stay above water. Moreover, mothers are more likely than fathers to take time away from paid work to care for a child, which can exacerbate mothers’ lifetime earnings gap. Second, parents can pay for child care out of pocket. But this approach is very costly for families, eating up 35.9 percent of a low-income family’s monthly budget. The third option for families is to use federal- or state-funded child care, but access to any publicly funded program, let alone a high-quality program, is very limited. Nationwide, nearly three in four children are not enrolled in a federal or state-funded pre-K program.

The children caregivers in many communities are deemed responsible to care for those younger than them and it is expected that they will do so. Adults are viewed as occasional supervisors of the caregiving while the caregivers are responsible for responding to the needs of each child. These young caregivers take pride in their responsibility and learn each child’s individual likes, dislikes, and habits.[23]


Childcare varies dramatically across cultures. These discrepancies are attributed to the homestead and household environments. That is, the type of work performed by adult caretakers in a given community strongly influence the type of childcare used. In agricultural/ horticultural societies where work is done to provide sustenance for the community, siblings and similar-aged children are responsible for younger children.[2] While many global communities prefer children aged 7–10 for designated caregiving responsibilities, children no younger than 12 are preferred in the Western world where paid childcare is common.[23]
According to Chris Knight, the first humans were few; then the population "exploded .... Population expansion on such a scale is inconsistent with female tolerance of infanticide, harassment, or the heavy costs to mothers of male philandering and double standards. If unusually large numbers of unusually large-brained offspring were being successfully raised to maturity, the quality of childcare must have been exceptional. We know what the optimal solution would have been. There can be no doubt that mothers would have done best by ... taking advantage of every available childcare resource."[45]
Independent studies suggest that good daycare is not harmful.[57] In some cases, good daycare can provide different experiences than parental care does, especially when children reach two and are ready to interact with other children. Children in higher quality childcare had somewhat better language and cognitive development during the first 4½ years of life than those in lower quality care.
Child development researcher, Lian Tong, analysed the results from a Haley and Stansbury experiment saying, "Parent responsiveness also facilitates cognitive, social, and emotional development and reduces negative emotions in infants."[31] That is, the amount of time that a parent or teacher is willing to spend teaching, listening to, playing with, and exploring with the child the more socially, emotionally, and educationally developed the child will become. Whether that child receives the majority of his or her care at a center or at its house, the biggest factor in deciding what will have the best effect on the child will be those willing to put in the time and effort it takes to properly develop a child's social, physical, and academic skills.
The costs of child care are even more extreme for younger mothers. The average age when mother’s first give birth in the United States is 25.7 years, meaning that half of new mothers are under the age of 26 when they have their first child. Not surprisingly, younger mothers tend to have lower incomes: By virtue of their age, they have less job tenure and are more likely than older mothers to still be completing their education. But this means that mothers under age 25 with a young child who are paying for child care end up spending a staggering one-third—33 percent—of their income on care because they typically earn less. (see Table 1) It is critical that these women have the opportunity to finish their education and gain job experience, but child care expenses can make that a daunting prospect.
Whether they're just crawling or ready to run, jump and climb, kids ages 6 weeks to 5 years will have an adventure packed day through hands-on learning and outdoor adventure. Centrally located in the Clocktower Building in the Main Base Area, Mount Snow Child Care is a welcoming, state-licensed facility that provides individual classrooms full of enriching age appropriate activities.
Learning Stories [58] are documents that are used by caregivers and educators in childcare settings. They use a storytelling format instead of a traditional ‘observation’ report to document the different ways that young children learn, and capture the moment in greater detail and provide parents with a greater insight into the events that occur in their child’s time in childcare.

Each of the NIH sponsored child care centers provides high quality child care, based on current early childhood best practices.  However, each program has its own unique program characteristics and dynamics.  Below is a link to a side-by-side comparison chart of the Maryland centers.  As a parent, it is up to you to research each center to determine which center would be a good fit for your family.  You can obtain additional information by contacting the programs directly to request a tour.

The children caregivers in many communities are deemed responsible to care for those younger than them and it is expected that they will do so. Adults are viewed as occasional supervisors of the caregiving while the caregivers are responsible for responding to the needs of each child. These young caregivers take pride in their responsibility and learn each child’s individual likes, dislikes, and habits.[23]
The vast majority of childcare is still performed by the parents, in-house nanny or through informal arrangements with relatives, neighbors or friends. For example, in Canada, among two parent families with at least one working parent, 62% of parents handle the childcare themselves, 32% have other in-home care (nannies, relatives, neighbours or friends) and only 6.5% use a formal day care center.[64]
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.

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