Why is the United States one of the few advanced democratic market societies that do t offer child care as a universal public benefit or entitlement? This book-a comprehensive history of child care policy and practices in the United States from the colonial period to the present-shows why the current child care system evolved as it has and places its history within a broad comparative context. Drawing on a full range of archival material, Sonya Michel shows how child care policy in the United States was shaped by changing theories of child development and early childhood education, attitudes toward maternal employment, and conceptions of the proper roles of low-income and mirity women. And she argues that the present policy-erratic, inadequate, and stigmatized-is typical of the American way of doing welfare.
Sonya Michel is Director of the Gender and Women's Studies Program and professor of Gender and Women's Studies and of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago.