January 17, 2012
Many day care centers throughout the country are making childcare available around the clock in an effort to accommodate parents who work odd hours or have second jobs.
According to Harriet B. Presser, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland who was interviewed by The New York Times, about 40 percent of the American labor force now works some form of nonstandard hours. That number is expected to grow as more workers flock to jobs in nursing, retail and food, which often require working shifts beyond the typical nine-to-five schedule.
Moreover, work hours generally tend to be less predictable than they used to be. "There's a greater variability and irregularity of schedules," noted Lonnie Golden, a professor of economics and labor studies at Pennsylvania State University, who was quoted by the Times. "In surveys, more and more people are no longer able to specify a beginning or end of the workday."
Many day care centers have responded accordingly. As The Express-Times in Pennsylvania reported, for example, the Sullivan Trail Child Care Center in Forks Township operates from 6:30 am until 11:30 pm.
"It isn't a nine-to-five anymore," explained owner Fabian Moriah, who was interviewed by The Express-Times. "That world is gone."
Tiffany Bickley, a cook who takes advantage of the 24-hour-a-day care available at ABC & Me Childcare in Elyria, Ohio, agreed. "No one works Monday through Friday, 9 to 6 anymore," she told The New York Times. "No one."
Because so many parents work late hours, the Sullivan Trail Child Care Center offers pickup and drop-off to local schools, and does not charge late fees to parents. Similarly, as WSPA 7 reported, the Loving Care Academy in Spartanburg, South Carolina, offers child care until 11:30 pm during the week, for the same cost as morning hours.
"[The parents are] really thankful and they're really tired too," said Rita Tell, the center's second shift supervisor, who was interviewed by WSPA 7. "They just want to get the kids home and go to bed."
Other parents tuck their children into bed at day care centers. As The Express-Times reported, single mother Nilda Taveras drops off her 4-year-old at the Marshall & Friends day care center in Allentown, Pennsylvania so she can work nights as a home health aide. Taveras brings her daughter in time to say good night, then greets her the next morning when she wakes up.
"There's a big need out there right now," said Briana Smith, who runs ABC & Me and was quoted by The New York Times. "When I talk to parents, the first thing they ask is, 'What are your hours?'"
Compiled by Yaffa Klugerman
"After-Hours Child Care in Demand," wspa.com, January 16, 2012, Tracey Early
"Day Care Centers Adapt to Round-the-Clock Demand," nytimes.com, January 15, 2012, Sabrina Tavernise
"Forks Township Day Care Open Late Hours for Parents Working Second, Third Shift," lehighvalleylive.com, December 25, 2011, Sara K. Satullo