What do children need to grow and develop? And how can their needs be met when parents work? Emphasizing the importance of parental choice, quality of care, and work opportunities, ecomist Jane Waldfogel guides readers through the maze of social science research evidence to offer comprehensive answers and a vision for change. Drawing on the evidence, Waldfogel proposes a bold new plan to better meet the needs of children in working families, from birth through adolescence, while respecting the core values of choice, quality, and work: Allow parents more flexibility to take time off work for family responsibilities; Break the link between employment and essential family benefits; Give mothers and fathers more options to stay home in the first year of life; Improve quality of care from infancy through the preschool years; and, Increase access to high-quality out-of-school programs for school-aged children and teenagers.
Jane Waldfogel is Professor of Social Work and Public Affairs at Columbia University.