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Summer means child care concerns [US]

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Shepard, Stuart
Publication Date: 
6 May 2004

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School will be out in a matter of weeks, and many working couples are likely trying to figure out what to do with the kids over the summer.

According to research by the Urban Institute, at least once a week when school's out, a third of all school-age children are in the care of a relative. And a fourth are in a day camp or recreation program.

"For many families the child care arrangements are multiple," said Matthew Stagner of the Urban Institute. "Whether that's a parent or a relative or a consistent caregiver in another setting, it's very common that children are moved between many different locations."

Stagner said the research also shows 28 percent of 10- to 12-year-olds are simply taking care of themselves during the summer. But, as Eloise Anderson with the Claremont Institute points out, that's is hardly an ideal situation.

"The last thing that (a parent) should ever think about doing," she said, "is leaving your child at home alone unsupervised."

Ideally, what parents should do, if they can't care for children on their own, is find a licensed facility with a stable staff.

- reprinted from Family News