The day care industry is a continuum from personal parental care to large, regulated institutions. Some childminders care for children from several families at the same time, either in their own home (commonly known as "family day care" in Australia) or in a specialized child care facility. Some employers provide nursery provisions for their employees at or near the place of employment. For-profit day care corporations often exist where the market is sufficiently large or there are government subsidies. Research shows that not-for-profits are much more likely to produce the high quality environments in which children thrive." Local governments, often municipalities, may operate non-profit day care centers. For all providers, the largest expense is labor. Local legislation may regulate the operation of daycare centers, affecting staffing requirements. In Canada, the workforce is predominantly female (95%) and low paid, averaging only 60% of average workforce wage. Some jurisdictions require licensing or certification. Legislation may specify details of the physical facilities (washroom, eating, sleeping, lighting levels, etc.).
In general, the geographic limitations and the diversity in type of daycare providers make child daycare a highly fragmented industry. The largest providers own only a very small share of the market. This leads to frustration for parents who are attempting to find quality child daycare, with 87% of them describing the traditional search for child daycare as "difficult and frustrating".
Rules differ between states regarding family day care in Australia. To start a Family Day Care business in Victoria, an educator should be either having "Certificate III in Children's Services" or be actively working towards the same. Additionally, Current Police check, Current First Aid training, Insurance (specifically for family day care) is necessary for starting a family day care. The house should be safe for children. A group of 15 educators works under one Supervisor who must have a "Diploma in Children's Services".
In Scotland Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education is responsible for improving care and education for children from birth to age eighteen. This is implemented by inspections carried out by HMIE itself or by other members of inspection and review teams. Inspection reports include feedback from staff and parents as well as the inspectors, aiming to provide parents and carers information to help them decide whether a particular child care setting is providing good quality child care and meeting government standards.
Family child care providers care for children in the provider's own home. The children could be in a mixed age group with a low adult to child ratio. Care can also potentially be personalized and individual. The hours may be more flexible and the provider may offer evening and weekend care for parents who work shifts. The cost in a family child care could be significantly lower on average than that of a center.
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.
According to the 1995 U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), over thirty-six percent of families of preschoolers with working mothers primarily relied on childcare in the home of a relative, family daycare provider or other non-relative. Almost twenty-six percent of families used organized childcare facilities as their primary arrangement.
^ Schönpflug, Karin, Feminism, Economics and Utopia: Time Travelling Through Paradigms (Oxon/London: Routledge, 2008 (ISBN 978-0-415-41784-6)), pp. 159–160 (author economist, Austrian Ministry of Finance, & lecturer, Univ. of Vienna), citing Rohrlich, R. & Elaine Hoffman Baruch, Women in Search of Utopia: Mavericks and Mythmakers (N.Y.: Schocken Books, 1984), and Plato, The Republic (ca. 394 B.C.).
A similar study in New York City found that more than a third of families on the child care assistance waitlist either lost jobs or were unable to work, and one in five had either missed or been late for work because of their child care problems. Perhaps even more alarmingly, a quarter of families on a child care waitlist in Minnesota had to rely on public assistance in order to make ends meet while waiting to access child care subsidies.
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.
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Parents are typically the legal owners of the non-profit day care and will routinely provide consulting services in areas in which they are professionally qualified (for example accounting, legal advice, or human resources) for free. (There are some non-profits not operated by parents, but by a board of directors made up of community representatives who want what is good for the children.)
The program that was created in 2007 became known as the Federal Daycare Programme for Working Mothers. This program allowed for subsidized home and community based childcare. The one running the care centers would only have to have a training component, which consisted of a psychological test and training courses to understand the principles of childcare, before being able to open their business in which they would be given money to furnish the facility as necessary for a safe caring center to be created. Another way this program was set into place was by subsidizing the care of non-profits, private for profits, or religious institutions who were based in the area of need.