Childminding as a service for working mothers and their children aged under two years
This thesis examines childminding as a day-care service for working mothers and their children aged under two years, in the light of a study of minders, mothers and children carried out in London in 1977-9. Data from a study of day nurseries are used as a comparison. The development of social policy towards childminding is traced and discussed within the context of policy towards the provision of day-care services for under-fives. An account is given of research studies since World War II on working mothers and childminding. The needs of working mothers and their young children from a day-care service are considered and data from the study described and discussed in the context of those needs. Childminding was found to be a poor service in terms of availability and stability. The child did not in some cases receive care that cornple2ented and was consistent with that given him at home; the health services provided poor coverage. Physical conditions at the minders' varied widely and were in many cases unsatisfactory; especially so in the inner London boroughs. The winders ' child-care practices and attitudes also varied; many offered a poor service, especially those who were in charge of large groups of children. Mothers born abroad, or from ethnic minorities, were likely to get a poorer service from childminding than other mothers. Minding compared poorly with other day-care provisions in terms of accountability, both in relation to the regulating body, the local authority, and to parents. Some of the difficulties of improving child minding within the present policy framework are discussed. Possible and desirable future trends in policy towards the provision of 8 day-care service are identified and considered.