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Old 12-14-2011, 05:49 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,569
Default early childhood and inequality

Interesting piece from TNR. Am familiar with some of the research, as this is obliquely related to my area.


APPROXIMATELY SEVEN MILLION American infants, toddlers, and preschoolers get care from somebody other than a relative, whether through organized day care centers or more informal arrangements, according to the Census Bureau. And much of that care is not very good. One widely cited study of child care in four states, by researchers in Colorado, found that only 8 percent of infant care centers were of “good” or “excellent” quality, while 40 percent were “poor.” The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has found that three in four infant caregivers provide only minimal cognitive and language stimulation—and that more than half of young children in non-maternal care receive “only some” or “hardly any” positive caregiving.

Of course, children in substandard day care are not the only children at risk in the United States. There are also hundreds of thousands of babies born each year to American teenagers, about 60 percent of them poor. The vast majority of teen mothers are unmarried when they give birth, and frequently lack either family support or the financial resources to find capable outside help. Then there are the children who begin their lives in traumatic circumstances for other reasons—because they have a parent with clinical depression, or they witness violence in the home. Nobody has a precise definition of adversity, let alone a number for the children who experience it. But experts like Nelson think at least a few hundred thousand children suffer from serious abuse or neglect every year. Presumably they are disproportionately, although far from exclusively, in low-income families.
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