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Less day care and lesser quality day care for lower income families in Quebec.

Montreal--The advantages of Quebec's much admired day care system are not shared equally by lower and higher income groups, a study Quality Counts! Assessing the Quality of Daycare Services Based on the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development reports. Quebec's publically funded day care is the most extensive of any jurisdiction in North America, serving approximately 200,000 children.

Published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy, the report points out that children from lower socio-economic families as compared to those of higher status are less likely to be in daycare: but for those that do, the average quality of the settings is significantly lower!

The gap between children from lower and higher income groups becomes more significant when quality comparisons are made. One in five daycares attended by children from lower socio-economic families was of inadequate quality, in contrast to less than one in ten for children of better-off families.

However, children in non profit centers received services that were, on average, of the same quality, irrespective of their socio-economic status. This was not the case for home-based care, for-profit daycares and unregulated home-based daycares.

According to the authors, "these results underline the need for a network of centre-based childcare in disadvantaged neighbourhoods," and it also raises questions about the development of home-based settings in these neighbourhoods. The authors add: "A universal approach that does not outline specific measures to reduce disparities may in fact aggravate those disparities."

The report examines the quality of the province-wide system as found in 1,500 daycare set.tings as measured by health and safety of children, and the educational component. It finds that

* The majority (61 percent) of the daycare settings met the criteria for minimal quality

*over one-quarter were rated good, very good or excellent. In 12 percent of daycare settings, the quality was inadequate.

Nonprofit early childhood centers generally offered betterquality services than other types of daycare settings. One-third of nonprofit centres were of good, very good or excellent quality, compared to only 14 percent of for-profit daycares and 10 percent of unregulated home-based daycares. Conversely, more than one-quarter of for-profit daycares and unregulated home-based settings were of inadequate quality. "

The authors of the study are: Christa Japel, Universite du Quebec a Montreal; Richard E. Tremblay, Universite de Montreal and Sylvana C?te, Universite-de Montreal.
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Publication:Community Action
Geographic Code:1CQUE
Date:Jan 23, 2006
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