Friday, December 28, 2012

[Feature: child care] Alternative home-based and center-based care for supporting children.


Child care and child support starts from the home. Every child should have loving parents or legal guardians. There are families where there is only one parent and so, the role of child care may be taken on by members of the child’s extended family.

Caring after children at a daycare facility. Credit:Doviende/Flickr.com
Where the parents are employed and busy, caring could be provided at the home front through nannies, or outside the home using center-based care called daycare and preschools.

Whatever the choice taken by the family, the needs of the child must be paramount. The parents or legal guardians should do all within their means to make sure their children are provided with a loving and supportive environment. By law, when a child is being abused or neglected, outsiders can report the parents and the child will be taken away from them and entrusted to an orphanage, foster home or adopted. When they are very busy, some parents sometimes swap child care with other parents whom they trust.

Types of care available to children.

Every level of care, whether chosen by a parent, legal guardian or the authorities, has its pluses and weak points. Parents should realize that assessing the value of caregivers is important, even when they are employed within the home. The work of caregivers should be appreciated so the children can be best nurtured to prepare for their role as the leaders of tomorrow. Some common methods of care are outlined below:

  1. Home based care
  2. These are care provided to children by nannies or friends and family, and because they are based on trust, parents have to be careful. These caregivers require no licensing, neither are background checks usually done. Nevertheless, the children form a close bond with their caregiver, which is important and makes it radically different from other forms of caregiving. Exposure to illnesses is well reduced because the children are watched inside their homes and can be influenced by the caregiver. Parents have to be very careful when opting for this type of caregiving.

  3. Daycare
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    It is also called preschool when it involves primarily 3 and 4 year old children. This sort of caregiving is standardized and regulated by the authorities. Parents may employ the daycare facilities at their place of work, if one exists, or from commercial care centers. Daycare centers are regulated and licensed by the government and a license can be revoked if the center is found defaulting. Social workers who assess daycare centers often look out for signs that children are being sexually abused, whether the daycare center environment is conducive for raising up physically and mentally healthy children etcetera.

  5. Foster care
  6. Foster care is recommended by social workers when parents or the guardians of a child have lost the capacity to take care of the child, whether through neglect, abuse or because of other failings. These centers are state certified and sometimes funded by the government. Where they are privately operated, the foster parents are paid by the government or a social service agency. The essence is to provide care for the kids as if they were in the home of their natural parents, no matter the ethnic or cultural background of the children.

  7. Adoption
  8. In cases of adoption, the rights of the original parents to the child are lost when the adopting parents have satisfied every legal requirement or societal norms governing that practice. Foster care does not confer permanent change in the status of the child which adoption does. It is the act of enfolding needy children into the loving arms of kind parents; it is one of the best ways to show generosity to damaged, neglected or abused children. Adoption in the 20th century is governed by comprehensive statutes and regulations. Recently, due to the way rules have been applied when it concerns ethnicity, race and culture, neglected children are not rescued sufficiently early and placed in loving homes sufficiently quickly. There are many children needing adoption and the earlier for them the better but the above factors are real hogs in the wheel of successful adoption.

Abuse or neglect of children in family settings could require that alternative forms of care be recommended. Yet, even in state run care centers, much is left to be desired. There have been reports of starvation, humiliating physical punishment and forced labor used as disciplinary methods in state residential care facilities. Some adoptive parents are not discovered to be abusive or affiliated to terrorist organizations until after a social worker has approved them for adoption. Sometimes, the problem lies at the method of implementing the remuneration packages designed by the state itself. Whatever the problems that exist, it is encouraging when everyone puts the child’s welfare ahead of any political or social consideration. Finding a safe and peaceful home for the child is the reason why child care exists.

Parents who are faced with disabled children, or whose children face debilitating diseases, have had to depend on state help for care. These parents have to be encouraged. Providing care for such children, especially when they become technology-dependent, is a big burden on the finances of the family. Many states have provided nursing services, either in-home or outside the home, to help these families. If yours does not, ask that they do.

Empowering families, most especially vulnerable families, is important for quality care to be provided to children. Quoting the SOS USA children’s village, “every child, whether living within a family or in alternative care, has the right to experience the positive, stable and loving relationships that he or she needs for healthy personal development.”

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