The child care statistics shown in this report cover an estimated 26.5 million children under the age of 15 whose mothers were employed in the labor force during the winter of 1984-85; 16.8 million of these children had mothers who were working full time. How these children were cared for while their mothers were at work, the complexity of these arrangements and the accompanying daily disruptions in the mother's work schedule, and the financial costs attributable to child care services are some of the topics presented in this report. This information was collected in a supplement to the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and refers to the period December 1984 through March 1985.1 It is anticipated that subsequent supplements to this survey will be collected on a periodic basis in an effort to establish an ongoing data base of child care statistics that currently is lacking at the national level.2
1 The reference period for the SIPP child care module was for the month that preceded the interview month. The actual interviews were conducted in January 1985 through April 1985. As a result, the data presented in this report are an average of the usual child care arrangements used by women from December 1984 through March 1985. This period will be referred to as "winter 1984-85."
2 An absence of a national data base on child care statistics has been previously noted by many researchers and governmental committees. See Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, U.S. House of Representatives, "Families and Child Care: Improving the Options." U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C., September 1984, p. vii.