Does the provision of full day care improve the quality of life for children and their parents
This study sought to explore and examine if the provision of full day care improves the quality of life for children and their parents. Owing to the effects of the Celtic Tiger, life in Ireland has changed considerably over the past five to ten years. Because of the booming economy there are now 60.8% of women employed in the workforce. This means many changes for children, parents and families. Findings in the literature review are based on international studies. The researcher utilised both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies for the study. She interviewed 31 respondents; 27 childcare managers; 3 politicians and the chairperson of a childcare committee. Furthermore, 325 questionnaires were completed in a survey by working parents in the statutory and voluntary sectors in and around Sligo town and in two childcare facilities in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Babies as young as 4 months are being cared for in childcare facilities from 6.45am until 6.pm daily, 5 days per week. Some children are spending up to 11 hours per day in childcare facilities. The study has not categorically concluded that full day care is either positive or negative for children. Childcare facilities are providing good quality childcare encompassing various services; however, 25 out of 27 childcare managers reported to the researcher that they would not leave their child in full day care. Parents are finding it difficult to manage work life balance. Health dominated quality of life issues. Two hundred and thirty five (235) parents reported being stressed. The study also found that 315 working parents feel that the government is not doing enough to support working parents. On a positive note, 241 parents said they are happy in general with the quality of life for them, their family and their children. In addition, the researcher has identified a number of recommendations for future changes in policy and further study.
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