BRINGING UP BABY
October 23, 1997
The White House hosted a day-long conference focusing on how to make child care safer, more available and more affordable. After a background report, Phil Ponce explores the issues surrounding child care with Ellen Galinsky, the head of the Families and Work Institute; Marcy Whitebook, co-director of the National Center for the Early Childhood Work Force; Stanley Greenspan, a clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics; and Charmaine Yoest, so fellow at the University of Virginia.
(WOMAN SINGING WITH CHILDREN)
A RealAudio version of this segment is available.
February 6, 1997
States try to find child care for welfare receipients moving into the workforce.
May 29, 1997:
A report on child on brain development leads to a call for better child care.
January 22, 1997:
In a dialogue with David Gergen, Anne Roiphe talks about her book, "Fruitful: A Real Mother In The Modern World."
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of youth, and welfare.
PHIL PONCE: There are roughly ten to thirteen million children in child care across the country, both in day care centers and in private homes. Almost half of the children under age one are in child care regularly. More American parents use day care now than at any other time. And not only have the numbers grown, so too have the settings in which day care is offered. Those include day care centers, care in private homes, company-provided at work care centers, and nannies in the home. For the older child some schools offer before and after school activities. For many families child care is the third largest household expense, after housing and food. On average families pay $74 a week or $3700 a year. But experts estimate that is less than half of what high quality care actually costs. While many children receive good quality care, most are not so lucky.
A 20-month independent study by the National Center for the Early Childhood Work Force in Washington found that only 5,000 of the nation's 97,000 child-care centers are accredited. The report also found that at 15 percent of preschool day-care centers the care is considered harmful. 70 percent of all care is rated mediocre. Turnover among staff is over 50 percent. Child development experts also raise concerns about the emotional and intellectual development of children in the care of others. Another recent study though gives child care higher marks. A report by the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development showed the learning skills of younger children were not harmed. It did, however, conclude that the separation from the mother did impact mother/child relationships. Most experts agree that staffing at child-care centers is a major problem. There are 3 million day care workers, but many say they've been forced to find other work since they are paid only the minimum wage.
JOAN WHITLEY, Care Giver: We don't make a living wage. She doesn't make a living wage on her own. I don't make a living wage by myself. And we don't--we can't afford to pay any teacher here a living wage.
PHIL PONCE: Unlike public schools and health care, child care is not heavily subsidized. Parents often pay 70 percent of the bill. Over the past decade the federal government has helped defray the costs by increasing monetary assistance to low-income families. Last year that assistance totaled about $3 billion. Yet, only one child in ten benefits from the program. Some 38 states have at least 100,000 children on waiting lists for subsidized child care. At today's White House Conference on Child Care President Clinton outlined his plan to make day care better.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: First, I am asking Congress to establish a new scholarship fund for child care providers. Too many care givers--too many care givers don't have the training they need to provide the best possible care. Second, we have to weed out the people who have no business taking care of our children in the first place. I am transmitting to Congress a national crime prevention and privacy compact, which will make background checks on child care providers easier and more effective. Third, I've asked Sec. Rubin to oversee a working group on child care, composed primarily of business leaders, working with labor and community representatives to find ways more businesses can provide child care or help their employees afford high quality child care. Finally, we must use community service to strengthen and expand access to after-school programs.