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The years before school: Children's nonparental care arrangements from 2001 to 2012

This Statistics in Brief examines the nonparental care arrangements of children in the United States, from birth through age 5, who are not yet enrolled in kindergarten. The report draws on data from the National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) Early Childhood Program Participation (ECPP) Surveys of 2001, 2005, and 2012. Previous reports have shown that children's nonparental care arrangements vary by age, with higher percentages of older children participating in center care arrangements (Mamedova and Redford 2013; Mulligan, Brimhall, and West 2005). The evidence suggests that this may be because as children get older, their parents begin to focus more on their academic skills. Younger children's parents, in contrast, may be more concerned about practical factors such as cost and arrangement reliability as well as factors related to caregivers' trustworthiness and ability to form caring, home- or family-like relationships with children (Chaudry et al. 2011; Kim and Fram 2009). Given the emphasis in recent years on young children's early learning and nonparental care arrangements, it is important to better understand where children are spending their time during the years before school entry. This report presents findings on nonparental care over time, specifically on the arrangements children participate in, the time they spend in these arrangements, and the out-of-pocket expense for these arrangements. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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