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December 18, 1991

Care for Working Parents' Children Grows as a Challenge for Nation

JAMA. 1991;266(23):3255-3257. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470230013003

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LIKE A TODDLER tugging at a busy mother's apron strings, the issue of child care keeps pulling at the heartstrings. Although it is possible to ignore it temporarily, until it is dealt with, it likely won't go away.

The issue of child care won't go away because one salary will no longer support most families or because, for the 25% of all children who live in single-parent homes, one salary is all they have.

Upwards of 50% of mothers of preschoolers and 70% of mothers of schoolage children work outside the home. By the year 2000, these figures will probably rise to 70% and 80%, respectively.

Relatives, Day-care Centers  While their mothers are at work, about half the children are cared for by relatives. Three quarters of the remainder are in family day care and the rest attend day-care centers.Concerns about child care are not new (JAMA. 1988;260:3247-3249). Unfortunately,