Child Care as a Protective Factor: Investigating the Impact of Child Care in an At-Risk Sample.
Abstract: This thesis investigated the impact of child care on the development of children born to adolescent mothers and the role that home visiting programs may play in promoting child care utilization. Participants were mothers and their children enrolled in an evaluation of Healthy Families Massachusetts (HFM), a home visiting program for first-time young parents. The study investigated the ex... read moretent and type of nonmaternal care used by families and whether child care participation was associated with children's socioemotional, behavioral, and language development. The study also explored whether children's outcomes differed depending on the time of entry into the child care arrangement and if participation in HFM was associated with child care use. Findings showed that nonmaternal child care (i.e., formal child care, grandparent care, and other family and friend care) was prevalent in this sample and that participation in formal child care, compared to participation in maternal care alone, was associated with significantly higher performance on tests of socioemotional competence and language development. Furthermore, more positive outcomes resulted from either extended participation in formal care or later placement in the child care arrangement. Results also indicated that families participating in HFM were equally likely to use formal care compared to families not receiving home visiting services. These findings have important program and policy implications highlighting the benefits of child care participation, the importance of creating awareness of these benefits, and of promoting increased access to formal child care for at-risk children.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2014.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisor: M. Ann Easterbrooks.
Committee: Francine Jacobs, and Eric Dearing.
Keywords: Early childhood education, and Developmental psychology.read less