ERIC Number: ED468563
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Urgency Rises for Quality Child Care. Infants & Toddlers. Policy Brief.
WestEd, San Francisco, CA.
Noting that parents of infants and toddlers find child care substandard and expensive, and recognizing the importance of children's earliest experiences for later intellectual and emotional functioning, this policy brief examines what research reveals about the kinds of relationships, experiences, and environments that foster healthy child development. The brief also discusses implications for structuring quality child care programs, describes selected models for such programs, and identifies barriers to quality care. Finally, the brief offers policy implications and recommendations. The brief notes existing research highlighting the importance of stable, responsive relationships for infants and toddlers and maintaining that policies must guarantee that programs are: (1) relationship-based; (2) staffed by knowledgeable professionals who are adequately compensated and supported; (3) organized in small groups that stay together over time with low child-staff ratios; (4) designed around infant-toddler interests; (5) partnered with support services; and (6) evaluated. Barriers to quality care are noted, including its high cost, working conditions which thwart efforts to find and keep good caregivers, and public ambivalence about child care. Policy recommendations are then delineated: (1) targeting resources to increase availability and quality infant-toddler care; (2) providing caregiver incentives to stay in the field and continue professional development; (3) removing disincentives in law or policy; and (4) developing a comprehensive, strategic plan for early care and education from birth to age 8 years. The brief concludes by asserting that creating, funding, and supporting systems of high-quality care for infants and toddlers that target children in poverty first will help secure a better start for millions of young children. (Contains 17 endnotes.) (KB)
Descriptors: Change Strategies, Child Care, Child Caregivers, Family Needs, Infant Care, Infants, Public Policy, Toddlers
WestEd, 730 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107-1242. Tel: 877-493-7833 (Toll Free); Tel: 415-565-3000. For full text: http://www.WestEd.org.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: WestEd, San Francisco, CA.