One of the most important decisions employed parents make is arranging for someone to care for their children while they are working. Reliable, quality care is especially important for preschoolers because young children are dependent on caregivers to fulfill their basic needs and to keep them from harm. Affordability is also an important consideration and for many parents child care is a costly expense. In this report, we examine who pays for child care and how much it costs.
According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation, in the fall of 1993 there were 9.9 million children under 5 who were in need of child care while their mothers were at work. Relatives (41 percent), organized child care facilities (30 percent), and family day care settings (17 percent) were among the principal child care arrangements used for preschoolers while their mothers were at work (figure 1).