ERIC Number: ED439786
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Subsidizing Child Care by Mothers at Home. Working Paper Series.
Bergmann, Barbara R.
At first look, it seems inconsistent and unjust to give help to families which place their children in nonparental care, and deny equivalent help to families in which a parent provides all the care. One might argue that parents who buy care and parents who give care themselves have the same very burdensome problem to deal with and are just handling it in somewhat different ways. Whichever way it is handled, providing care for young children is financially stressful, and both sets of parents might be thought to deserve some government-provided relief from the financial stress. Yet reflection shows that there are substantial reasons for treating them differently--for limiting child care subsidies (although not necessarily other kinds of subsidies) to families that use nonparental child care. First, because of the homemaker's productive activities, a one-earner couple has a higher standard of living than a two-earner couple or a working single parent with the same cash income from wages, even if the nonparental child care is totally paid for by government. That has to be taken into account in considering the equity of extending child care subsidies to cover at-home care by a parent. Second, in cases where one of the parents refrains from taking a paid job so as to care full-time at home for a child, it is almost always the mother who does so. Payments to at-home parents will overwhelmingly go to at-home mothers and will encourage mothers to refrain from or leave paid jobs. This would reinforce traditional gender roles and might well contribute to reversing the advances that have been made in women's status, independence, and respect. There are also quality and efficiency considerations to be taken into account. (Contains 10 references.) (EV)
Descriptors: Child Caregivers, Day Care, Early Childhood Education, Employed Parents, Family Work Relationship, Federal Aid, Financial Policy, Financial Support, Homemakers, Labor Force Nonparticipants, Mothers, Sex Role
Foundation for Child Development, 345 East 46th Street, New York, NY 10017-3562. Tel: 212-697-3150; Fax: 212-697-2258. For full text: http://www.ffcd.org/subsidizing.pdf.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Foundation for Child Development, New York, NY.