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The Changing Landscape of Child Care

Introduction

Over the past few decades, the needs of families living in the United States have changed dramatically. Painting a picture of the modern family’s child care needs would require a very large canvas. From changes in the economy to shifting family structures, numerous factors have impacted children’s increasingly diverse needs. Decades ago, child care was an experience for few families, but over the years, seeking child care from sources outside the family has become the norm. In the mid 1990s, changes in family structure–such as the increased prevalence of single parenting coupled with welfare reform and an economic boom–brought more parents into the workforce.

In addition, there are myriad factors, such as the expeditious return of new mothers to work after the birth of a child that continue to contribute to the ever-changing landscape of child care.2 Consequently, it is important for the child care system to adapt to adequately support the evolving needs of the American family.

 

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