The Problem


An increasing number of children are in child care at an early age. In the United States, more than 60 percent of preschool children and some 78 percent of school-age children have mothers who work outside the home. In Canada, 70 percent of preschoolers’ mothers work, and 86 percent of mothers return to work within a year of child bearing. At the same time, more children are in single-parent families.

These trends have resulted in more child-care centers and home- based providers, but the need for child-care is greater than the available supply. In addition, the child care centers have difficulty attracting or retaining trained workers because of low pay and limited career opportunities. In the United States, almost half the child care employees leave their positions each year.

At the same time, the number of persons age 65 and older is rising. Thanks to medical advances, better nutrition, and more exercise, they enter this age typically more healthy and active than did seniors only a few years ago. Many older people want to have productive roles in society.

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