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Pediatrics. 2015 Dec;136(6):1112-24. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0419.

Child Care Services, Socioeconomic Inequalities, and Academic Performance.

Author information

1
University of Montreal; Research Group on Children's Psychosocial Maladjustment (GRIP) and Ste-Justine's Hospital Research Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; sylvana.cote.1@umontreal.ca.
2
Douglas Mental Health University Institute, and Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada;
3
Department of Psychology, Laval University, Quebec, Canada; Department of Psychology, Tomsk State University, Tomsk, Russia;
4
Department of Psychology, University of Québec in Montreal, Montreal, Canada;
5
University of Montreal; Research Group on Children's Psychosocial Maladjustment (GRIP) and Ste-Justine's Hospital Research Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada;
6
Department of Psychology, Tomsk State University, Tomsk, Russia; School of Public Health, University College Dublin, Belfield, Ireland.
7
University of Montreal; Research Group on Children's Psychosocial Maladjustment (GRIP) and Ste-Justine's Hospital Research Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Department of Psychology, Tomsk State University, Tomsk, Russia;

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.

PMID:
26598459
DOI:
10.1542/peds.2015-0419
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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