Child care, or otherwise known as daycare, is the care and supervision of a child or multiple children at a time, whose age ranges from six weeks to thirteen years. Child care is the action or skill of looking after children by a day-care center, nannies, babysitter, teachers or other providers. Child care is a broad topic that covers a wide spectrum of professionals, institutions, contexts, activities, social and cultural conventions. Early child care is an equally important and often overlooked component of child development. Child care providers can be children's first teachers, and therefore play an integral role in systems of early childhood education. Quality care from a young age can have a substantial impact on the future successes of children. The main focus of childcare is on the development of the child, whether that be mental, social, or psychological.
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.
When a child care facility is licensed, it means that an Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (IDCFS) licensing representative has inspected the facility and it was found to meet the minimum licensing requirements set by IDCFS. A child care facility that is license exempt is one that is not licensed by IDCFS but must still meet minimum requirements set by Illinois in order to operate as a child care provider. The CCAP will only allow a license-exempt home to care for three children, including the provider's own children, during a day unless all of the children are from the same household. Below are the different types of Licensed and License Exempt Providers and the Standards/Procedures that they must meet.
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.
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. Bright Horizons Family Solutions another of the largest has over 600 daycare centers. Similarly the Australian government's childcare subsidy has allowed the creation of a large private-sector industry in that country.
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New Horizons Cooperative Preschool offers a half-day, play-based, bilingual preschool program for children aged 2.5 to 7 years old. Founded in 1968, our goal is to bring together families and children who are traditionally separated by ethnicity, class, race, and culture. For 50 years, New Horizons has continued to operate as a collaborative effort of parents, teachers, and community members to foster diversity and to educate one another.
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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.