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December 1990, Vol. 113, No. 12
Child day care services: an industry at a crossroads
Darrel Patrick Wash and Liesel E. Brand
The continued entry of mothers of preschool and school-age children into the labor force is directing new attention to the subject of child care. In addition to concerns about the availability, cost, and quality of child care, questions also have been raised about the role of government in the provision of such care and about the advisability of having someone other than a parent raise the Nation's children. Moreover, expectations of future tight labor markets, skill shortages, and lagging international economic competitiveness have provoked a dialogue on the relationship between the availability of suitable child care and a parent's productivity in the workplace.
The focus of these concerns is an industry primarily providing care for infants, prekindergarten or preschool children, or older children when they are not in school.1 Generally, today's child care arrangements fall within one of two categories: Family day care-care that is provided informally in the parent's or caregivers home- and formalized day care centers. The latter include for-profit facilities and not-for-profit facilities run by State and Federal Government agencies, religious institutions, or community organizations.
This article discusses the structure of the child care services industry, its historical and projected employment trends, and factors underlying the growth of the industry, including employment shifts among different types of care providers. It also discusses the degree of government involvement and identifies some of the reasons why the future directions of this industry is so difficult to predict.
This excerpt is from an article published in the December 1990 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 The child day care services industry is classified as SIC 8351 in the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification Manual, published by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
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