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Report Number P70-121
Lynda Laughlin
Component ID: #ti689050844

Introduction

Parents in the labor force face numerous decisions when balancing their work and home life, including choosing the type of care to provide for their children while they work. Deciding which child care arrangement to use has become an increasingly important family issue as maternal employment has become the norm, rather than the exception. Child care arrangements and their costs are important issues for parents, relatives, care providers, policy makers, and anyone concerned about children. This report, which is the latest in a series that dates back to 1985, shows the number and characteristics of children in different types of child care arrangements in the spring of 2005 and the summer of 2006.1

Preschoolers and gradeschoolers require different types of care. While the primary focus of child care for infants and preschoolers is meeting their basic needs, older children often engage in structured enrichment activities and are found in self-care situations. The respective child care arrangements used for each age group are compared within this report. Information is also provided about the cost of child care arrangements and the number of fathers providing care for their children. This report examines new topics such as summer child care arrangements for both preschoolers and gradeschoolers.

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1 The data in this report are from reference month four of the fourth and eighth wave of the 2004 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Data for wave 4 were collected from February through May 2005. Data for wave 8 were collected June through September 2006. The population represented (the population universe) is the civilian noninstitutionalized population living in the United States.

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