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Daycare in the U.S. during World War II (Cont.)

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Federal funding for day care was established by a 1942 amendment to the Community Facilities Act, known as the Lanham Act.  Originally passed in 1941...
...The agency entrusted with the government's day care program was the Federal Works Agency (FWA), a successor to the (Depression-era) WPA...
-- Ibid., p. 166
But not without a power struggle with the Federal Security Administration.  "The FSA, reflecting the attitudes of children's advocates, was not about to stand by while the FWA constructed a nationwide chain of 'Baby Parking Stations'."
Emily D. Cahan, Op. Cit., p. 30

The Lanham Act Centers, as they were called, received 50 percent of their support from the federal government...
Fritz Lanham...protested that this use (of federal funds) distorted his bill's purpose, but he was ignored.
Minding the Children:  Childcare in America from Colonial Times to the Present by Geraldine Youcha, 1995, p. 308

The (federally-supported) centers had a peak enrollment near 130,000 in 1944.
Child Care: The Federal Role During World War II, Emilie Stoltzfus, Congressional Research Service Report RS20615, p. 1, 2 Feb 2009
Given the millions of kids alive at the time, this hardly counts as universal (childcare).
Reason.com blog, "So How Many Kids Went to Federally Funded Daycare During World War II?", Nick Gillespie, 21 Jan 2015

Day care planners were aware that they had to revise the popular image of the day nursery as a sort of dreary orphanage for neglected children: a poster-sized fact sheet produced by the Family Welfare Association of America to encourage the use of day care centers declared, "This is a war program, not a charity."
-- Elizabeth Rose, op. cit.,  p. 168

The public day care centers also differed from the private day nurseries in their link to the public schools.  Like the WPA nursery schools, the wartime day care centers were located in public school buildings. Not only did this make the centers easily accessible, but it also reinforced their identity as a public service similar to public education, available to all, and suggested that they were providing educational as well as custodial care. If day care was equated with public education, it could be defined as a right of all citizens rather than as a gift to poor mothers.
-- Elizabeth Rose, op. cit.,  p.169

The opening of federally funded day care centers...furthered the dawning perception that day care could be seen as a public service for ordinary families, not a charity for those who had nowhere else to turn.
-- Elizabeth Rose, op. cit.,  p. 153

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Continued on the next page

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Last updated:  02/08/2015

History of Daycare- Background | History of Daycare - Overview | Overview - cont. | Precursors to modern Daycare | Precursors - pg 2
Daycare in the former Soviet Union  | Soviet Union - pg 2 | Daycare in the early Zionist kibbutzim | Daycare during the Great Depression |
Daycare during WWII | Daycare during WWII - cont. Daycare after WWII to the 1960's  | Daycare after WWII - cont. | Daycare today  
 


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