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Report: Child Care Centers = Behavior Problems Later On?

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March 30, 2007

The more time kids spend in child care centers before kindergarten, the more likely they are to display behavior problems in school according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health. The report does say the differences in behaviors are minor, and there's an upside to quality child care programs -- better vocabulary scores later on. Nina Auerbach with Child Care Resources in Seattle says the mixed news raises concerns.

"It does point to how difficult it is, even with a high quality center, to really concentrate on the social and emotional skills that we need to be concentrating on so that we don't see these kids of results."

Researchers point out that parenting quality was a much better predictor of child development than child care of any kind. Auerbach believes Washington will be taking steps over the next few years to improve the quality of child care, including a new rating system and additional training for workers.

"There are things that are happening. But, of course, there always could be more."

The report is online at www.nichd.nih.gov.

Dondrea Warner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WA