Childcare system in the USA
Before coming to the United States of America in 2012, I was totally unfamiliar with the childcare system.
The reason was simple. I grew up in an old traditional style of life in the Middle East (Kurdish culture). We were living in a small community of around 1,000 people. Back in my village lifestyle, there was nothing called childcare. Once I entered this country, I realized that the childcare system is mostly related to modem societies.
I remember during my childhood in the 1980s and 1990s, life was very simple as both genders were assigned to different roles. Usually, women were assigned with the classic role: taking care of at home, kitchen, and children. Times have changed with the development of society, work, and gender issues. Because of industrial, historical, and social changes, the role of parents has changed, especially when parents go to work outside the home.
In the USA, the childcare system is mostly regulated by laws. The legal framework – costs and prices, types etc. – varies across states. Private and public systems have their own regulations and arrangements across states. But all state have some laws.
Providers cannot practice without a license from a local authority.
The United States has a variety of options and types of childcare. For example, it can be home-based, it can be a public center, or it can be a church or faith-based. For all types, there is usually a maximum number of children allowed.
I remember our first daycare arrangement was in 2012 when we first arrived in South Illinois. My husband and I were students and had difficulties with taking care of our 3-year-old child. Some friends recommended a nationwide public childcare and education program called Head Start. This system was very helpful, and it solved our schedule difficulties. Head Start is free, but childcare can be expensive in some places.
It’s true that kids must spend time with their families, but the high costs of life push most parents to work outside the home and take their kids to daycare. So the childcare system is very important in American life. When parents go outside the home for work, the kids will be secure and safe.
Childcare in my view is also very important for social, educational and physical development.
It’s true that kids are getting parents’ values and culture. But nowadays, daycare centers and organizations also have a lot of impact on kids’ development.
Childcare has a huge impact on the business and economy, too. Many researchers talk about billions of dollars lost due to parents being late or absent from work every time when childcare centers close down. When a parent cannot get childcare, they will be absent from work.