Child care and early child wellbeing
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
First Committee Member
Philip K. Robins - Committee Chair
Child care has become an important fact of life for the majority of young children in the United States. Clarification of the nature and extent of early child care as a source of variability in child wellbeing is not only a pressing research concern, but also a critical issue for parents and policymakers. This thesis investigates how child care experiences are related to child wellbeing during the first three years of a child's life, using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), a large sample of children born to predominantly low-income single mothers. The thesis contributes to the literature on the effects of child care on child wellbeing by providing new evidence on low-income families moving from welfare to work.This thesis is composed of three studies focusing on two important aspects of early child care experiences---type and stability of child care, which are found to be strongly associated with social, cognitive, and health-related child outcomes in the first three years of life. The first two studies examine the relationship between child care arrangements and child development. The results suggest that in general, children benefit from attending non-maternal care arrangements during the first three years, especially when they reach preschool age. Center-based care turns to be the most beneficial arrangement for children's social development. With respect to children's cognitive development, the patterns of the effects vary by child's age. At age one, non-resident relative care is found to be the most favorable arrangement, while at age three, both center-based and home-based non-maternal care are more advantageous than maternal care. The third study examines the relationship between child care turnover during the first three years and child development and health. The results indicate that children who experience more changes in care arrangements between age one and age three are at higher risks of behavior problems. Moreover, different patterns of child care transitions from year one to year three vary in their effects on child wellbeing, and children may benefit from certain types of changes in care arrangements.
Peng, Duan, "Child care and early child wellbeing" (2007). Dissertations from ProQuest. 2517.