Challenges related to child care have been posing significant limitations to work, especially for mothers who accept unpaid caregiving obligations due to their respective families’ incapability to pay for or access child care services. A child from such a family often endures constraints when placed at any care facility. Children of varied ages also frequently experience distinct psychological reactions to caregiving services. Consequently, there is a pressing need to distinguish the age at which children should start going to school or child care facilities. Moreover, it is imperative to highlight common child care alternatives for new mothers, as well as the developmental consequences of introducing young children to these facilities. This paper underlines and ascertains the status of child care systems in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United States (U.S.), and Germany.
Research Purpose and Background
The research aims at offering an assessment of the challenges encountered by children living in residential and foster care facilities in three countries, namely, the UAE, the U.S., and Germany. In general, it is reckoned that roughly 2.7 million kids aged 17 years and below live under institutional care around the globe (Schochet, 2019). This research denotes a critical step toward systematic evaluation and collation of information on children living under some kind of care. In addition, recommendations on how to enhance child care services within facilities are provided. The outcomes will considerably contribute to the raising of awareness about the urgent need to capacity build UAE’s child care facilities, as well as those in the U.S. and Germany. Article 27 of the United Nations (UN) convention presents a far-reaching stipulation on children’s rights. The article declares that all children should be placed under standard living settings that sustain their physical, social, moral, spiritual, and mental development (Petrowski, Cappa & Gross, 2017). Furthermore, the UN convention directs those responsible for child care to ensure the living conditions necessary for the development of every child are in place (Petrowski et al., 2017). Essentially, this article offers information that will be central in helping the UAE, U.S., and German care facilities meet the requirements of the UN convention on children’s rights.
Issues Related to Child Care
The General Problem
Although child care is a fundamental part of successful parenting, issues are increasingly emerging, particularly for mothers who earn a living from their routine work schedules. When the need to undertake child care arise, mothers are duty-bound to exploit alternatives or abandon work to take care of their young ones. For most mothers, such insecurity infers working fewer hours, resigning from their job, or accepting salary cuts. Thus, many businesses register losses due to challenges related to their employees’ child care requisites. Given the expectation of society that women are answerable to all domestic chores, a majority of mothers tolerate burnouts associated with excessive workload and caregiving roles. Simply put, therefore, women face substantial problems trying to balance family and work.
The Problem in the UAE
Issues Related to Unprofessionalism
UAE features families that highly rely on maids or nannies to offer services of child care. The repercussion has been the tendency of such children to recognize their nannies more than they do to their actual parents (England, 2017). Research in the UAE has indicated that most of the caregivers lack professional qualifications in child care. Unfortunately, roughly 58% of children in the UAE aged three years and below are cared for by such maids for thirty to seventy hours each week (England, 2017). England (2017) noted that the child care duration is far greater than the recommended hours in established economies such as Europe and the U.S., and has been subject to censure. The time also exceeds the length recommended by leading research to deter the loss of maternal attachment, as well as to hinder the child from nurturing morally unacceptable qualities (England, 2017). Therefore, most of the child care systems in the UAE are substandard and should be upgraded.
Besides the paid maids, most mothers also depend on their relations for child care in the UAE. Based on a survey done by Abukari and Al-Yammahi (2018), approximately sixty-nine percent of mothers had caregivers. At least 51% of this proportion indicated that the primary source of child care was their husbands. On the other hand, 29% of mothers hired maids or nannies to offer caregiving services to their children (Abukari & Al-Yammahi, 2018). Finally, workplace daycare and actual care by mothers were tipped at 11% in the research by Abukari and Al-Yammahi (2018). Indeed, these figures imply that mothers in the UAE do not rely much on the services of child care facilities.
There are attachment issues through the initial stages of childhood development. Studies have acknowledged that the value of attachment and the early connections developed by children have a major impression on their lifetime (Sanderson & Preedy, 2016). Britto et al. (2017) did observe that infants and young children need to feel an intimate and uninterrupted connection with their mothers (or permanent substitute of the mother), thus deriving enjoyment and satisfaction essential for development. In the present UAE, such attachments and bonds have developed between caregivers and children. Whereas the attachment between the child and the caregiver might sometimes be good, better outcomes are only attained when the child bonds well with the caregiver. Limited child-mother attachment and or separation from the mother culminates in adverse physiological and psychological alterations. The result has frequently been children getting traumatized by being disconnected from their mothers (Britto et al., 2017). Hence, child care facilities contribute to attachment challenges that might cause psychological problems among children.
Child Care Issue in Germany
Status of Child Care in Germany
When compared to UAE, the education standard of child caregivers is higher in Germany. To become a child teacher, for example, one must complete two years of training at a vocational college followed by one year of field-based practical experience at a child care facility (Busse & Gathmann, 2018). In addition, trained caregivers are placed in public child care centers to assist those employed in taking care of children (Felfe & Lalive, 2018). Consequently, the government recognizes child care as a principal part of a healthy nation and has invested in training caregivers to ensure apt nurturing of children.
In Germany, the participation of women in the labor sector as employees has been magnifying. However, a number of mothers quit their jobs or adopt part-time employment schedules as soon as they have young children. Most residents in Germany understand that affordable child care for babies aged three years and below is focal in helping to promote women’s involvement in the labor market. Busse and Gathmann (2018) observed that most parents complain of high-cost issues related to child care. This arises even as the government of Germany endeavors to offer a public subsidy covering most of the variable costs for all children’s care facilities. The subsidy is strictly for the child care centers complying with the established regulations, which comprise proper hygiene, professional staff, and security. Parental expenses only cover a maximum of twenty percent of the total cost, with the remaining proportion paid through local and state subsidies. Equally, parental fees are determined at the municipal level, thereby creating balanced variations in daycare prices in all regions. As a result, it can be argued that, indeed, the German government has supported high-quality and affordable child care services relative to those in UAE.
Relationships and psychological issues are comparable in the states of UAE and the U.S. Many young individuals at child care facilities endure emotional and behavioral problems due to peer relationships and lack of attention from parents (Busse & Gathmann, 2018). Copeland, Khoury, and Kalkwarf (2016) concurred that non-parental care affects children’s development. Also, it is observed that parental decisions in response to child needs are contrasting between girls and boys; girls always care for more than boys. It is reported that parents of girls pay for more informal care than those for boys, justifying the notion that parents spend more time with boys than girls (Singer, 2017). Consequently, substantial variations in behavioral problems exist among girls and boys due to conflicting degrees of care accorded to each sex.
Child Care in the United States
In the U.S., problems attributed to child care are driving most mothers out of the workforce at an alarming rate. In 2016 alone, an estimated two million parents left their careers because of issues related to child care (Schochet, 2019). Most of the challenges ensue due to the families’ inability to find or afford child care expenses. The setback is highly affecting women, who are forty percent more probable to claim that they have individually experienced the adverse consequences of child care problems on their employment than fathers. In most cases, mothers are compelled to make employment decisions based on child care needs, but not the personal interest linked to career goals and financial stability.
The care of children has progressively become burdensome regarding cost expenses for many working mothers. In the previous 20 years, the cost has doubled while salaries have remained constant (Gathmann & Sass, 2018). With child care expenses almost draining the paychecks of working mothers, their decision has often been to relinquish their jobs and take care of the children. Moreover, it is observed that the U.S. has failed to execute policies that support mothers to remain in or join employment (Council on Community Pediatrics, 2016). Likewise, the working women are earning low wages with non-standard hours characterized by inconsistent timetables. As a consequence, many women grapple to access inexpensive child care that matches their employment schedules. Therefore, child care issues, in addition to unsustainable salaries and unbalanced timetables, make it difficult for a majority of mothers to retain their jobs.
A number of access limitations relate to barriers resulting from social status, including race and household income. Particular families have confirmed they experienced challenges to access child care due to their low incomes and color (Malik, Hamm, Schochet, Novoa, Workman & Jessen-Howard, 2018). Families earning low incomes are unable to cover the high cost of child care facilities. Thus, families from low-income clusters struggle to obtain affordable child care services. Additionally, mothers belonging in the category of people of color have reported complexities in accessing child care as compared to white women. For instance, American Indians and Hispanic mothers are more likely to encounter issues related to child care relative to white moms (Schochet, 2019). The same trend experienced by Hispanic mothers is common among back and other mothers classified as people of color, emphasizing further how accessibility issues pose a hindrance to quality child care.
Policies focused on easing the cost of covering children’s care services facilitate mothers’ involvement in employment. Specifically, policies should stress more on reducing the costs and increasing the availability of early childhood education. Hence, the well-articulated policies can contribute positively to women’s availability in the job industry. For instance, Washington, D.C. started providing two years of unpaid public early childhood education in 2009, leading to an increase in women’s participation in the labor market by 12% (Schochet, 2019). Expanding the access of women to child care coupled with other workplace enhancements is important since many households are highly dependent on their salaries (Herbst, 2018). Using the U.S. case, seventy percent of mothers are employed and in 2015 alone, forty-two percent were the main breadwinners in their households (Schochet, 2019). Against this backdrop, human resource management departments need to organize and support a female-friendly job setting. For instance, movement constraints could be contained when organizations purchase buses to give transport services to women to and from work. Human resource units could also establish on-site daycare facilities to enable working mothers to attend to their maternal roles in a more convenient and effective manner (Al-Asfour, Tlaiss, Khan & Rajasekar, 2017). From the UAE study outcomes, it is proposed that parents should be sensitized on how key their duty is in modifying their children’s development, particularly during their early life stages.
In essence, child care centers face different issues from one country to the other. The UAE features families that highly rely on maids or nannies to offer services of child care because of their cheaper labor. However, the country’s major problem is that most maids are not trained on how to offer the best child care services. Many caregivers in the UAE are not educated or equipped with the skills needed for handling children in a professional way; thus, children in the UAE lack access to good parental care. In Germany and the U.S. where professionals are recruited in daycare centers, children still endure psychological constraints linked to a lack of parental care. Equally, parents in the U.S. complain about challenges of high cost and limited accessibility of child care centers. A majority of U.S. parents could not afford child care services because of the high amount of fees. Likewise, U.S. parents who could pay for child care encountered drawbacks associated with the availability of facilities. In Germany, cost issues are minimal as the government has invested in public daycare facilities, with parents only paying subsidized fees. To address cost concerns in countries, governments need to promote child care programs, thereby enabling women to participate in the labor market. Psychological challenges could be averted when human resource units establish child care facilities within the workplace, thus allowing mothers to contact their children at any time.
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