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Childcare - Selection Of Childcare

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Parents' actions and decisions are critical in the selection of childcare. The search for good-quality childcare requires an investment of parental time and energy and often begins with an assessment of family needs and values. How many hours a day is care needed and during which days in the week? Most childcare used to meet employment needs is available weekdays, and it may be difficult to find care on weekends, at night, or for irregular time periods. The child's age is also important as it is usually easier to find care for preschoolers than infants and toddlers.

With this knowledge, parents can explore available childcare arrangements. Most parents report that they learn about their childcare from friends, coworkers, and relatives. Regulated family day care and day-care centers are often listed with governmental agencies, and information and referral centers can provide personalized information and listings of caregivers.

Most parents need backup arrangements for times when the main caregiver is unavailable or the child is sick. Although the turnover rate of individual caregivers in center-based care is high, the service is usually continuous. However, if an individual caregiver is unable to work, the parent must find a replacement. This problem is most severe for mothers with jobs that allow little or no leave time for childcare emergencies. Finding suitable childcare involves consideration of parental and child needs as well as the supply of childcare and the demands of a job. Many families report that no one type of care is sufficient to meet all their child-care needs.

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