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, economist 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;
,Increase access to high-quality out-of-school programs for school-aged children and teenagers.
Waldfogel's book is undoubtedly the best informed, wisest, and most convincing description of the benefits and risks of childcare arrangements in the United States. It is tightly organized, lucidly written, and utterly engaging.
What Children Need argues that there are three principles that policy makers should use to ensure that children's needs are met: respecting parental choice, promoting quality, and supporting parental employment. Waldfogel believes that there are tensions among these values and it is by identifying and grappling with the tensions that we will find real possibilities for creative solutions.
In What Children Need, Jane Waldfogel guides us through more closely defined approaches to questions about the effects of parental care and attention and takes a pragmatic view of the way children adapt to variations in their environment.
[Waldfogel's] analysis is written from an American perspective, and most of her statistics refer to the United States, but the issues and her discussion of them transcend national boundaries.
What would a children's services system based on evidence and respect for choice look like? This lucid, well-organized and carefully researched book cuts to the heart of such debates. It should be read widely and, if taken seriously, will encourage far-reaching and positive changes in practice and research in the field.
What Children Need is an impressive, thought-provoking synthesis of information and ideas for designing social policy to support the healthy development of children living in an industrialized world.
[Waldfogel] gives readers a solid sense of the gaps between what children need and what they are getting, as well as a blueprint for what public policy can and should do to provide for those needs.
- 288 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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