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An Economic Analysis
The child care system in the United States is widely criticized, yet the underlying structural problems are difficult to pin down. In The Child Care Problem, David M. Blau sets aside the often emotional terms of the debate and applies a rigorous economic analysis to the state of the child care system in this country, arriving at a surprising diagnosis of the root of the problem.
Blau approaches child care as a service that is bought and sold in markets, addressing such questions as: What kinds of child care are available? Is good care really hard to find? How do costs affect the services families choose? Why are child care workers underpaid relative to other professions? He finds that the child care market functions much better than is commonly believed. The supply of providers has kept pace with the number of mothers entering the workforce, and costs remain relatively modest. Yet most families place a relatively low value on high-quality child care, and are unwilling to pay more for better care. Blau sees this lack of demand—rather than the market's inadequate supply—as the cause of the nation's child care dilemma. The Child Care Problem also faults government welfare policies—which treat child care subsidies mainly as a means to increase employment of mothers, but set no standards regarding the quality of child care their subsidies can purchase.
Blau trains an economic lens on research by child psychologists, evaluating the evidence that the day care environment has a genuine impact on early development. The failure of families and government to place a priority on improving such critical conditions for their children provides a compelling reason to advocate change. The Child Care Problem concludes with a balanced proposal for reform. Blau outlines a systematic effort to provide families of all incomes with the information they need to make more prudent decisions. And he suggests specific revisions to welfare policy, including both an allowance to defray the expenses of families with children, and a child care voucher that is worth more when used for higher quality care.
The Child Care Problem provides a straightforward evaluation of the many contradictory claims about the problems with child care, and lays out a reasoned blueprint for reform which will help guide both social scientists and non-academics alike toward improving the quality of child care in this country.
In the context of AIDS and a declining economy, one strategy for children to ensure their own livelihood is to engage in domestic employment. Here, Michael Bourdillon presents the findings of research based on interviews and discussions with child domestic workers in Zimbabwe. It looks at the circumstances that pushed them into employment, the hardships and humiliations they face therein, as well as the benefits they derive, including, in some cases, education. Most children wanted improvements in their living and working conditions. They did not want to be stopped from working, perceiving that this would worsen their already harsh lives. While child domestic wok is problematic, and often lays children open to various types of abuse, it can also offer critical support and patronage to very disadvantaged children.
Embodiment, Time, and Language in Early Childhood
The Child in the World builds a bridge between continental philosophers, who tend to overlook child existence, and developmental psychologists, who often fail to consider the philosophical assumptions underlying their work. In this volume, author Eva M. Simms draws on both psychological and phenomenological research to investigate child existence in its cultural and historical context and explore the ways children interact with the world around them. Simms examines key experiences of childhood with special attention to the non-dualistic nature of the child’s consciousness and the understanding that there is more to the child’s experiences than cognitive processes. In chapters that proceed from infancy to early childhood, Simms considers how children live their embodiment, coexist with others, experience and the spaces and places of their neighborhoods, have deeply felt relations to things, grasp time intuitively and often in contradiction to adult clock-time, and are transformed by the mystery of the symbolic order of play and language. Simms’s approach is particularly informed by the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, which allows for a descriptive and grounded understanding of child experience as well as sophisticated and critical philosophical thinking about human existence in general. By respecting and celebrating the magical non-dualistic relationship child consciousness has to the world, The Child in the World offers readers a unique opportunity to expand their understanding of human existence. Students and teachers of psychology and philosophy, early childhood educators, psychotherapists, as well as general readers who are parents of young children will enjoy this fascinating volume.
Using Research to Improve Policy and Practice
The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) is the first nationally representative study of children who have been reported to authorities as suspected victims of abuse or neglect and the public programs that protect them. Child Protection is the first book that reports the results of NSCAW, interprets the findings, and puts them into a broader policy context.
The authors, all experts in child welfare issues, address a range of issues made apparent by the survey results, including which types of personal and familial problems the programs are meant to address, the range of services and interventions that the child protection system can make available, and an assessment of these programs. Each chapter discusses the survey's implications and suggests new alternatives for designing and implementing future programs that not only protect at-risk children from further harm but also provide them with security and support. The practical lessons included in this volume make it an essential reference for all professionals working in the child protection field as well as anyone studying in the field of child welfare.
From Patriots to Victims
Shaping Hierarchy and Desire
Religious traditions play a central role in the lives of many American children. In this collection of essays, leading scholars reveal for the first time how various religions interpret, reconstruct, and mediate their traditions to help guide children and their parents in navigating the opportunities and challenges of American life. The book examines ten religions, among other topics. Only by discussing the unique challenges faced by all religions, and their followers, can we take the first step toward a greater understanding for all of us.
It is increasingly clear that children and the youth today play a significant role in the labour process in Africa. But, to what extent is this role benign? And when and why does this role become exploitative rather than beneficial? This book on children and the youth in Africa sets out to address these questions. The book observes that in Africa today, children are under pressure to work, often engaged in the worst forms of child labour and therefore not living out their role as children. It argues that the social and economic environment of the African child is markedly different from what occurs elsewhere, and goes further to challenge all factors that have combined in stripping children of their childhood and turning them into instruments and commodities in the labour process. It also explains the sources, dynamics, magnitude and likely consequences of the exploitation of children and the youth in contemporary Africa. The book is an invaluable contribution to the discourse on children, while the case studies are aimed at creating more awareness about the development problems of children and the youth in Africa, with a view to evolving more effective national and global responses.
The Pauper Apprentice System in Early America
The history of early America cannot be told without considering unfree labor. At the center of this history are African and Native American adults forced into slavery; the children born to these unfree persons usually inherited their parents' status. Immigrant indentured servants, many of whom were young people, are widely recognized as part of early American society. Less familiar is the idea of free children being taken from the homes where they were born and put into bondage.
As Children Bound to Labor makes clear, pauper apprenticeship was an important source of labor in early America. The economic, social, and political development of the colonies and then the states cannot be told properly without taking them into account. Binding out pauper apprentices was a widespread practice throughout the colonies from Massachusetts to South Carolina-poor, illegitimate, orphaned, abandoned, or abused children were raised to adulthood in a legal condition of indentured servitude. Most of these children were without resources and often without advocates. Local officials undertook the responsibility for putting such children in family situations where the child was expected to work, while the master provided education and basic living needs.
The authors of Children Bound to Labor show the various ways in which pauper apprentices were important to the economic, social, and political structure of early America, and how the practice shaped such key relations as master-servant, parent-child, and family-state in the young republic. In considering the practice in English, Dutch, and French communities in North America from the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-nineteenth century, Children Bound to Labor even suggests that this widespread practice was notable as a positive means of maintaining social stability and encouraging economic development.
Society, Culture, and Globalization
Paula S. Fass, a pathbreaker in children’s history and the history of education, turns her attention in Children of a New World to the impact of globalization on children’s lives, both in the United States and on the world stage. Globalization, privatization, the rise of the “work-centered” family, and the triumph of the unregulated marketplace, she argues, are revolutionizing the lives of children today.
Fass begins by considering the role of the school as a fundamental component of social formation, particularly in a nation of immigrants like the United States. She goes on to examine children as both creators of culture and objects of cultural concern in America, evident in the strange contemporary fear of and fascination with child abduction, child murder, and parental kidnapping. Finally, Fass moves beyond the limits of American society and brings historical issues into the present and toward the future, exploring how American historical experience can serve as a guide to contemporary globalization as well as how globalization is altering the experience of American children and redefining childhood.
Clear and scholarly, serious but witty, Children of a New World provides a foundation for future historical investigations while adding to our current understanding of the nature of modern childhood, the role of education for national identity, the crisis of family life, and the influence of American concepts of childhood on the world’s definitions of children's rights. As a new generation comes of age in a global world, it is a vital contribution to the study of childhood and globalization.