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View Diary: Parking Lot Child Care (35 comments)

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  •  Good quality day care is an endangered species (2+ / 0-)
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    shirah, DSPS owl

    This topic hits me in my real life as a child psychologist who researches child care (and other topics).

    I'm quite concerned about the effects of tag team parenting on children and on marriages.  However, I'm also horrified by the kinds of situations that are forced upon poor, single parents who must have child care!

    Good quality care of children is essential,whether provided by parents or by another person or group of people. Of course, the right wing has very different standards for this if you are poor, or single, than if you are wealthier and married.

    For example, the churches of the middle class and higher typically harp on women staying at home with their kids. That is their solution to the day care crisis:  tighten your belt, give up a few luxuries, and stay at home, ladies. Some churches even have a "mothers day out" program. But too few have what they could provide and which many desperately need:  good, high quality child care.

    High quality care is excellent, and actually has positive benefits for children. But it is rare.  It requires workers trained in caring for kids, with decent salaries, actual benefits, and very low turnover. In the absence of high quality, what parents can hope for at best is perfunctory care.  This is care that does not endanger children, provides food, warmth, and safety, but nothing else is guaranteed or automatic.  

    For the poor, the working poor and working class, and much of the middle class, the struggle is to find child care as you can. You expect it to be perfunctory, hope it will be more than that, but you need it and it is so hard to find and so very costly.  Most people do not understand that child care, if good, costs about the same as sending a child to a good state college.  Other child care is most often a case of "do you have an opening (that I so desperately need and can afford)?"

    And the guilt trip goes on:  If you are so poor that you need to be on public assistance, well, of course you should be out working as soon as pssible after that kid is born! Under Bush, child care subsidies once available (thought not generous) have been cut and cut again, and required hours of work have been raised. This shoves parents and kids into the worst of binds.  

    I do appreciate the sharp humor of the Swiftian suggestion mentioned above. It's almost as dark as the solution of some policy makers, and not just among the Right Wing:  Put women on public assistance to work as child care providers, as no training or experience is needed to care for children.  I am appalled at the crassness of such a suggestion, for what it says about the valuing of children, the importance of high quality in child care, and what it says about concern for the plight of poor mothers.

    •  Boushey's study discusses (0+ / 0-)

      some of these issues as well.

      Thank you for the insights from your experience.

      •  Thanks to you, shirah (0+ / 0-)

        I appreciate your bringing attention to this. Wish we had more of how public policies are affecting these aspects of life, in addition to the others more commonly featured here.

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