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American Childhood: Risks and Realities

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What happens when a child faces hunger? Children facing hunger may struggle in school — and beyond. They are more likely to:.


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Repeat a grade in elementary school. Experience developmental impairments in areas like language and motor skills.

How often does Child Sexual Abuse take place?

Have more social and behavioral problems. Children struggling with hunger come from families who are struggling, too Children facing hunger often grow up in a family where a parent or parents also face hunger. You help us keep children healthy every single day The Feeding America network serves more than 12 million children in America.

On Weekends. These differences in spending are likely due to the lower cost of living in rural communities, where for example, real estate costs and teacher wages tend to be cheaper.

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These factors can make it slightly less expensive to operate a child care program in a rural community, which means that providers charge parents lower tuition than in areas where the costs associated with running a child care program are higher. Despite these differences, families in rural and metropolitan communities alike are spending well above what they should be: The federal government has defined affordable child care as not exceeding 7 percent of family income.

Overall, rural and metropolitan families use regular child care at similar rates, with about 60 percent of all children and 80 percent of children with employed mothers receiving care from someone other than a parent each week. This difference is particularly stark for preschool-age children. Research confirms that parents of preschool-age children tend to prefer center-based child care for their children, while parents of infants and toddlers often prioritize care from a parent or relative.


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Despite these preferences, rural families are significantly less likely to use center-based preschool programs. Many parents are constrained to programs that are affordable and close to work or home, while parents with more resources and thus more child care options often place greater emphasis on elements of program quality such as curriculum or small class sizes.

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Suicide in Children and Teens

But the child care choices of rural families suggest that there may not be enough available center-based preschool programs to meet the need in these communities. These disparities in access to various care settings can have implications for child care quality and school readiness. Nearly two-thirds of rural families live in a child care desert , or an area where there are at least three young children for every licensed child care slot—or no licensed child care providers at all.

One study of child care supply in nine states found that the lack of child care is extreme for infants and toddlers in rural areas, with babies outnumbering licensed child care slots by 9-to-1 across rural counties. Certain characteristics of rural communities, such as smaller program sizes and dispersed populations, can make it difficult for rural child care providers to meet community needs or to stay afloat financially.


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For example, home-based child care programs typically have a maximum capacity of from 6 to 12 children, which may be too small to meet demand in some areas. And because rural families are dispersed over greater distances than families in metropolitan areas, some families struggle to find a conveniently located provider, with 1 in 5 families in rural areas citing location as their primary reason for difficulty finding child care. Nationally, family child care providers represent one-fifth of all licensed child care slots in rural communities, compared with 9 percent of licensed capacity in suburban areas and 14 percent of licensed capacity in urban areas.

Family child care homes are well-suited for rural communities, as they are smaller programs that may be closer to where families live, making them more accessible. Importantly, it is difficult to compare the supply of licensed family child care across states because some states do not require family child care providers to obtain a license, and others have a high threshold for licensure.