Dr. Martha Cox, director of the Center for Developmental Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, described the largest, most rigorous study ever done on child cares effects to Rep. George Miller (D-Cal.) and the Society for Research in Child Development in Washington, D.C.
The investigation is the continuing National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-sponsored Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.
We have no compelling evidence that we are undermining the role of the family by supporting high-quality child care, Cox said. In fact, in addition to the important support for maternal employment and increased family income, there may even be some positive learning that families accrue from involvement with high-quality child care.
Cox made her presentation with Drs. Deborah Phillips, professor of psychology at Georgetown University and Robert Pianta, professor of education at the University of Virginia. The three are principal investigators of the 10-center study, which was designed chiefly to determine the effects of child care on children and their families.
Mother-child interactions are somewhat less positive when children are in child care for more hours, Cox said. On average, children are less secure if they are in care for longer hours, and if their mothers are not sensitive and responsive to them.
The study, which has lasted 13 years, has involved following some 1,200 children from soon after birth into their early school years and evaluating carefully the care they received an
Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill