It’s Provider Appreciation Day for those who provide daycare for working parents. Cathy Wheatcraft, Childcare Resource and Referral coordinator, says Iowa ranks second in the nation in the percentage of two-parent families both in the workforce. She says 78-percent of all children need daycare because their parents work, and 72-percent of people with kids under age 5 work, so it’s not just a “parents issue,” she says it’s an economic issue in Iowa. With that many parents in the workforce, Wheatcraft says you can see the need for adequate childcare, and good-quality care so parents can feel sure their kids are well cared-for and are learning and developing. She points out how big an influence the care provider is in a child’s life. If you think about it, a child put into daycare at six weeks of age will spend many more hours in daycare, all told, then they will in high school. She says 90-percent of a child’s brain develops before the age of five, so she says it’s critical to get good childcare that helps them learn and explore so they’re ready for school. While there’s a common picture of government regulation as being present everywhere, Wheatcraft points out that not all daycare providers are licensed, regulated or governed by any rule or agency. Daycare centers are licensed in Iowa, childcare home providers are merely registered — and they don’t have to register unless they care for six or more children.
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