Poster Paper: Nonparental Child Care during Nonstandard Hours: Does Participation Influence Child Well-Being?

Friday, November 7, 2014
Ballroom B (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Casey H. Boyd-Swan, Arizona State University
Recent studies pay considerable attention to exploring the expanding population of workers employed during nonstandard (evening and overnight) hours. The focus of these studies range from identifying and describing workers to measuring how employment during nonstandard hours influences family and child well-being. However, few consider how parents who work nonstandard hours care for their children when parental care is unavailable or, most pressingly from a policy perspective, about how participation in nonparental child care during nonstandard hours influences child well-being. This is the aim of the current paper.

Using cross-sectional data from the 1999 and 2002 National Survey of America’s Families (NSAF), this paper investigates the relationship between participation in nonstandard hours of nonparental child care and children’s cognitive, behavioral, social, and physical development. The NSAF is well-suited for the purposes of this study for several reasons. First, the NSAF collects unique employment, child care, and household roster information that allows me to construct a classification mechanism to uniquely identify children who participate in nonstandard hours of nonparental child care (‘nonstandard child care’). Employment survey data determine whether each parent in the household usually works daytime hours (6 am to 6pm) or not. Focal child survey data determine primary child-care use while parents are at work. Detailed household-roster information allows me to exclude children residing in households where another adult may be providing care while parents work. Second, the NSAF collects rich child well-being outcomes, including: school engagement, behavioral health, physical health, and social development. This allows me to explore the influence of participation in nonstandard child care across a diverse assortment of well-being measures.

I begin this investigation by classifying children as participants or nonparticipants in nonstandard child care based on responses to parental employment, child care, and household roster questions. Not all nonparticipants are homogeneous; three policy-relevant subgroups are explored in detail: (1) children whose parents are employed, (2) children who use daytime nonparental child care while their parents are at work, and (3) children who are cared for by one parent while the other parent works nonstandard hours. Multivariate analyses are used to identify differences between participants and nonparticipants. Preliminary findings suggest that children who participate in nonstandard child care experience significant well-being differences compared to their nonparticipant counterparts. Influences of nonstandard child care participation are most prominent in the areas of special education needs and school engagement, social development and parental interactions, and physical health and development. These differences remain when policy-relevant subgroups are isolated. The findings presented in this paper have important policy implications for nonstandard child care providers and organizations that employ workers during nonstandard hours. Potential policy solutions are outlined.