1. There is no real difference between family child care and baby-sitting.
The provider/teacher intentionally chooses family child care as a career and becomes legally licensed or regulated in her state. A baby-sitter generally provides care to help out a neighbor or relative.
2. Any person who gets along well with young children is qualified to work in family child care.
One who chooses to work with young children should be intellectually and emotionally suited to the work. The family child care provider/teacher runs her own business, plans her own curriculum, and establishes a connection with parents and the community.
3. There is an adequate supply of family child care providers to fill the national need.
There are not nearly enough licensed, regulated, accredited family child care providers. The need is crucial, especially for infant care and mixed-age groups where family child care is notably successful. It is important to encourage child care careers for those who are suited.
4. Professional family child care requires adequate training and a stable support system.
We are constantly expanding our base of knowledge about early child care and education and optimal health and safety practices. Ongoing training is a must if we are to be accountable for school readiness and early literacy experience. Supporting accreditation is a crucial factor in establishing a stable support system.
5. The general public recognizes family child care as an important service.
It is a little-known fact that child care keeps much of America working. Family child care enables parents to have their children, including infants, in a home setting that also allows siblings to be together. Research shows that children do benefit from good, quality care and small group size.
6. The true cost of child care is widely acknowledged and accepted.
Facilities, training, materials, professional development, staff, and benefits all cost. There is a tendency for some providers to apologize for the cost, even though they know that costs are part and parcel of any successful early childhood program.
7. Quality is viewed as an added element in family child care.
We are at a point in our development in the overall profession of early care and education where we know what quality is, what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like, and how to assess it. We should expect it to be woven into the fabric of every program.
8. There is a need to expand the research base specific to family child care.
Since millions of children are in family child care homes, we need to know more. For example, most family child care homes care for a mixed-age grouping of children, yet the research on caring for mixed-age groups is centered on preschool environments.
9. Issues of diversity are not as critical in family child care as in other settings.
On the contrary, we need to celebrate the diversity that is inherent in family child care. Each family child care environment reflects not only the culture and personality of the provider/ teacher but also her unique approach to teaching young children.
10. The family child care professional believes that there is a correlation between the well-being of children and their families and the whole community. This belief is shared by the public.
Answer: The first part of the statement is true, but the general public may not be aware of the following:
Recent research on brain development has validated what we have known for decades: The early years are critical in the life of an individual, and the decisions parents make for their young children will be among the most important they will make in that child's lifetime. The degree of support available for families and children will directly affect the quality of life for everyone in that community.