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Children Cared For by People Who Love Them

Children Cared For by People Who Love Them

Public Agenda, a nonpartisan, nonprofit opinion research and education organization founded in 1975, examined the views of three groups—parents, employers and children’s advocates—for their study on child care issues, Necessary Compromises (2000). The “parents” part of the study involved 815 parents who had children age 5 or under.

Among the findings:

"For the vast majority of parents, having a parent at home full-time is by far the best way to provide care for children 5 years or under, and nearly half say they have made arrangements to do this. By overwhelming margins, parents say the love and sustained attention a parent offers simply cannot be replicated by other forms of care. Parents also believe that children raised by a stay-at-home parent are more likely to learn strong values and considerate behavior than children in child care. When a parent cannot be home, parents say, child care by a close relative is best. Despite their strong belief in and preference for one-on-one parental care, parents do say that other arrangements can be of high quality and of benefit to kids.”

Asked to say which is the “best child care arrangement during a child’s earliest years,” 70% said “to have one parent stay at home,” 14% said “to have both parents work different shifts so one is almost always at home,” 6% said “to have a close relative look after the child,” 6% said “to place the child in a quality day care center,” 2% said “to bring the child to a mom in the neighborhood who cares for children in her home,” and 2% said “to have a nanny or babysitter at home.”