State legislation may regulate the number and ages of children allowed before the home is considered an official daycare program and subject to more stringent safety regulations. Often the nationally recognized Child Development Associate credential is the minimum standard for the individual leading this home care program. Each state has different regulations for teacher requirements. In some states, teachers must have an associate degree in child development. States with quality standards built into their licensing programs may have higher requirements for support staff such as teacher assistants. And in Head Start programs, by 2012, all lead teachers must have a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. States vary in the standards set for daycare providers, such as teacher to child ratios.
Many organizations in the developed world campaign for free or subsidized childcare for all. Others campaign for tax breaks or allowances to provide parents a non-finance driven choice. Many of the free or subsidized childcare programs in the United States are also Child Development programs, or afterschool programs which hire certified teachers to teach the children while they are in their care. There are often local industry associations that lobby governments on childcare policy, promote the industry to the public or help parents choose the right daycare provider.
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)
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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.
It is important to assess the value of caregivers because they are what truly make society function, and often their work is under-appreciated. They prepare the next generation for school, work, and decision-making. The way in which a child is nurtured at a young age and through adolescence has both psychological and developmental effects that effect their future. Not only does the child depend on caregiving, but schools and employers depend on the childcare. The government also benefits because these children turn into productive members of society. Eventually, they will be the ones running the country.
Childcare systems in France put great value into childcare providers having received a certain level of formal education in order to properly care for children. They have two separate branches of early childhood childcare. These two branches are called crèche and école maternelle. Crèche is the program for infants and toddlers and école maternelle is part of the education system. They both require teachers to have a college degree with an occasional specialized degree on top of that.
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. 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.