Childcare Providers: Performing a Vital Service
Early childhood is often identified as the time in children's lives from birth to age 8. Although the well-being of children under 8 has always been primarily the responsibility of their families, outside support and caregivers—formal or informal—have long played a role as well.
Today, with the increase in two-income families, as well as single-parent households, the important role of nonparental caregivers is increasingly being acknowledged.
The Partnership for Children and Families (PCF) recognizes that childcare providers for young children perform a critical service not only for parents but for society. That’s why we strive to serve and to act on behalf of the needs, rights and well-being not only of children and families, but also of providers of early childhood care.
Children’s first educators
Along with family, providers of early childhood care are among children’s first educators. Research on brain development has shown that the experiences children have in the first three years of life significantly impact the physical structure of the brain and a child’s ability to learn. By the time children enter school, brain development is 90 percent complete.
Shouldn’t we do everything we can to support, train and advocate for the individuals who lay the foundations of our future society?
Benefits for all
Investment in providing high-quality experiences in the years before entry into the K-12 education system has been shown, especially for at-risk children, to provide a return on investment ranging from $7 to $17 for every dollar spent.
As PCF’s former council coordinator, Holly Jacobson, put it in a blog:
“Quality childcare = children who are better prepared for school = an educated workforce = a stronger economy. However you look at it, and regardless of which aspect of the equation you care about, we all benefit when children in our community are cared for in safe, nurturing and quality environments.”
For these reasons, PCF advocates for improved working conditions, wages and recognition for individuals in the early childhood field. We also provide professional development opportunities and coach providers through quality improvement efforts.