About Child Care
Nearly 11 million children under age 5 in the United States are in some type of child care setting every week. On average, the children of working mothers spend 35 hours a week in such care. About one-third of these children are in multiple child care arrangements so that parents can meet the need for child care during traditional and nontraditional working hours.
The number of parents losing jobs, working part-time, taking pay cuts, or working two or more jobs reflects a growing reality associated with the weak economy of the last few years. Parents are forced to make difficult decisions about the care of their children.
Over the past five years, Child Care Aware® of America has examined the quality of child care in both child care centers and family child care homes. Overall, state standards for care are weak and oversight is weaker. At the same time, parents struggle with the cost of care, with the annual cost of infant center-based care exceeding the cost of college in 36 states.