Satisfaction with Child Care: Perspectives of Welfare Mothers

Freya L. Sonenstein, Douglas A. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Approximately 11% of U.S. children have mothers on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). In 1988 this program was reformed to require mothers with children over the age of 2 years to participate in employment programs, and child care subsidies were guaranteed. This paper examines AFDC mothers' perspectives on their child care in 1983–1984, before welfare reform, to explore the characteristics of care that mothers are likely to seek. Mothers' ratings of their child care on quality, convenience, dependability, and cost showed that no particular arrangement—care by relatives, sitters, family day care, or centers—was superior across all these dimensions. Each type had strengths and weaknesses. Multivariate analyses of mothers' satisfaction revealed that convenient hours and adequate adult supervision were valued for all preschool children. Low child‐to‐adult ratios and convenient location were important for children under age 3; the child's learning opportunities and happiness, and lower levels of caretaker experience, were important for older preschool children. The type of care used was not directly associated with satisfaction. It is concluded that a diverse range of child care options should be developed. 1991 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-31
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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