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Working Mothers Send Preschoolers for Outside Care

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Fifty-five percent of working women with children under age 5 send their preschoolers for day care outside the home, according to results of a survey released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The survey examined child-care arrangments for the nation's 5.1-million working mothers with preschool children as of June 1982.

The study indicated that 40 percent of working parents sent their children to someone else's home. (Half of this group sent their children to a relative and half sent the children to an unrelated person.) Some 15 percent of working mothers sent their children to a nursery school or a day-care center.

Of the 31 percent of women who provided care for their preschoolers at home, 14 percent left the children with their fathers, 11 percent with another relative (most commonly a grandparent), and the rest with a baby-sitter. In few cases--less than 0.2 percent--preschool children were left to care for themselves, according to the report.

About 9 percent of working moth-ers (most of whom work at home) cared for their preschool children while they worked, according to the survey.

The proportion of mothers not in the labor force who would seek work if they could find child care at a reasonable cost was three times higher in families with incomes under $15,000 (36 percent) than in those with incomes of at least $25,000 (13 percent), the survey said.

Copies of the report, "Child Care Arrangements of Working Mothers, June 1982" (Series P-23, No. 129, GPO stock No. 003-001-91545-6), are available for $4 each prepaid from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Recent action and reports related to day care for children of working parents include:

The U.S. Senate last month authorized the spending of $20,000 for start-up costs for a day-care program for its employees.

The program was developed to boost staff morale and send a message to businesses that day-care is an important benefit for workers, according to a spokesman for Senator Dennis DeConcini, Democrat of Arizona, the center's chief proponent.

The day-care center is expected to be self-supporting within the first year, the spokesman said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's administration for children, youth, and families has released a summary of findings from a survey of about 1,000 families with children aged 5 to 14 in Minnesota and Virginia.

The survey indicates that 25 percent of families with full-time working parents allowed their school-age children to be cared for by their siblings or by themselves. Among all families, only about 11 percent relied on self and sibling care.

The survey was conducted by Applied Management Sciences of Sivler Spring, Md.

Copies of the report, "School-Age Day Care Study: Executive Summary," are available from Raymond C. Collins, Office of Program Development, ACYF, P.O. Box 1182, Washington, D.C. 20013.--sr

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