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Based on a survey conducted of several hundred child-care centers, child-care prices in 75 cities rose an average 6.4% last year (The CareerJournal.com, 2004). As I stated previously, the increases are forcing working parents to reshuffle their budgets and thus causing a major concern for childcare centers and providers all over. For poor families, the increasing rates create major budget disasters and individuals fitting into this category often face the inevitable decision of seeking childcare of low quality or other means of childcare such as family members.
Rising childcare cost also leave out hundreds of thousands of children whose parents would have to shell out well over half their takehome pay.
In addition, although there are subsidy programs to help families earning below the prescribed amount, this still leaves out a large number of families that may fall just above the prescribed amount. The results from my survey were to find out how many families from the area surveyed would actually qualify for government subsidies.
Then with that data, I would like to create extension programs that would boost the number of families that would be eligible to receive subsidies.
The key objective of this survey was to provide current information about the price and availability of childcare for low-income families. I also conducted research on how household characteristics, subsidy rules and state expenditures affect the likelihood of a family receiving a subsidy. Of course, it was found that, key household characteristics include family size and structure, and past participation in welfare. And since, subsidy recipients were about 2.
5 percentage points more likely to be employed than non-recipients, and about eight percentage points more likely to be enrolled in school. (David Blau, Erdal Tekin, Chapter 10).
Child-care needs have recently attracted national attention with the U.S. Congress, leading to a debate of whether or not to establish a national program and regulatory standards. Nevertheless, since individual states already regulate child-care providers, ideals of operating procedures for all daycare providers, childcare facilities, etc was not needed. State laws are extremely diverse, ranging from strict licensing requirements to almost no regulation at all. Each state has its own laws regarding zoning ordinances and insurance requirements, as well as regulations for the actual facility, such as capacity limits, fire alarms, fenced play areas, number of exits, and health standards for food preparation areas, ratio of child to adult per level of enrollment in homes as well as facilities.
Another means of ensuring that all information is readily available to families is for day care providers to stay well informed of all available federal programs and proposals. This could definitely have direct consequences, good or bad, on new and existing day care businesses.
Quality childcare has always been a challenging and difficult decision for parents pursuing their careers and/or furthering their education. It has been proven that Children who receive warm and sensitive care giving are more likely to trust caregivers, to enter school ready and eager to learn, and to get along with other children. Often the barrier to high quality childcare is the cost.
A wide variety of approaches might be used to improve childcare. These include things such as, licensing requirements, placement activities, subsidies to compensate childcare workers, and additional. There are many other things that can also be done to improve the quality of childcare. Such as, ensuring current training programs are available for all providers, increased tax credits to cover the cost of care for lower- to middle-income families, incentive payments to individual teachers and assistants who remain in the same center for a minimum of 3-4 years. In the longer run, I think we need research to help better identify those factors that best improve the quality of childcare. In essence, we need better understanding of the production of high-quality care, which may differ for children of different backgrounds.
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