Child Care Services, Socioeconomic Inequalities, and Academic Performance.

TitleChild Care Services, Socioeconomic Inequalities, and Academic Performance.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsLaurin JC, Geoffroy M-C, Boivin M, Japel C, Raynault M-F, Tremblay RE, Côté SM
JournalPediatrics
Volume136
Issue6
Pagination1112-24
Date Published2015 Dec
ISSN1098-4275
KeywordsAdolescent, Canada, Child, Child Care, Child Health Services, Child, Preschool, Cohort Studies, Educational Measurement, Educational Status, Female, Humans, Infant, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Prospective Studies, Registries, Socioeconomic Factors
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine if child-care services (CCS) at a population level can reduce social inequalities in academic performance until early adolescence.METHODS: A 12-year population-based prospective cohort study of families with a newborn (n = 1269). Two CCS variables were estimated: "intensity" (low, moderate, and high number of hours) and "center-based CCS type" (early onset, late onset, and never exposed to center-based CCS).RESULTS: Children from low socioeconomic status (SES) families who received high-intensity CCS (any type), compared with those who received low-intensity CCS, had significantly better reading (standardized effect size [ES] = 0.37), writing (ES = 0.37), and mathematics (ES = 0.46) scores. Children from low-SES families who received center-based CCS, compared with those who never attended center care, had significantly better reading (ESearly onset = 0.68; ESlate onset = 0.37), writing (ESearly onset = 0.79), and mathematics (ESearly onset = 0.66; ESlate onset = 0.39) scores. Furthermore, early participation in center-based CCS eliminated the differences between children of low and adequate SES on all 3 examinations (ES = -0.01, 0.13, and -0.02 for reading, writing, and mathematics, respectively). These results were obtained while controlling for a wide range of child and family variables from birth to school entry.CONCLUSIONS: Child care services (any type) can reduce the social inequalities in academic performance up to early adolescence, while early participation in center-based CCS can eliminate this inequality. CCS use, especially early participation in center-based CCS, should be strongly encouraged for children growing up in a low-SES family.

DOI10.1542/peds.2015-0419
Alternate JournalPediatrics
PubMed ID26598459
Grant List / / Canadian Institutes of Health Research / Canada