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."[63] 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.
Legislation may mandate staffing ratios (for example, 6 weeks to 12 months, 1:4; 12 months to 18 months, 1:5; 18 months to 24 months, 1:9; etc.). The caregiver-to-child ratio is one factor indicative of quality of care. Ratios vary greatly by location and by daycare center. Potential consequences of a caregiver:child ratio which is too high could be very serious[citation needed]. However, many states allow a higher numbers of toddlers to caregivers and some centers do not comply consistently. For example, within the US: Pennsylvania, ages 1–3, 1 teacher to 5 children;[69] Missouri: age 2, 1 teacher to 8 children;[70] North Carolina: 1 teacher to 10 children.[68]

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]


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Spain provides paid maternity leave of 16 weeks with 30-50% of mothers returning to work (most full-time) after this[citation needed], thus babies 4 months of age tend to be placed in daycare centers. Adult-infant ratios are about 1:7-8 first year and 1:16-18 second year.[citation needed] Public preschool education is provided for most children aged 3–5 years in "Infantil" schools which also provide primary school education.[citation needed]
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