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Child care patterns for school-age children with employed mothers

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Capizzano, Jeffrey; Tout, Kathryn & Adams, Gina
Publication Date: 
10 Sep 2000

Available in print for order (see SOURCE) and online for download.

Executive summary: Arranging child care for school-age children presents a difficult set of challenges for working families. Although the time a child spends in school provides a supervised environment for a significant number of hours each day while parents work, many families experience "gaps" between these hours and parental work hours. The different types of care used to fill these gaps and the amount of time children spend in care vary widely across families and reflect a number of socioeconomic, demographic, and contextual factors. In addition, different out-of-school care arrangements can assist in keeping school-age children safe, provide oversight to ensure that they avoid high-risk behaviors, or, conversely, put children at risk of physical injury, emotional harm, or poor social and intellectual development. This report investigates the different types of child care arrangements, including unsupervised "self-care," that families with working mothers use for their school-age children. Specifically, we examine how child care patterns differ by the age of the child, family income, race and ethnicity, parental time available to care for children (based on family structure and employment), whether the mother works "traditional" versus "nontraditional" hours, and by state.