This study seeks to produce a comprehensive evidence base surrounding child well-being and the dynamic between household employment and childcare arrangements over the course of infancy, early and middle childhood.
In doing so, the study will seek to:
- Describe the national uptake of non-parental childcare from infancy to middle childhood (at nine months olds, at age three and at age nine).
- Explore how parents and guardians navigate the early childhood care and education market.
- Consider quality indicators of early childhood care and education settings at age three.
- Identify how childcare arrangements vary across family structures (single parent families, dual parental families and consideration of extended families) and household employment structures (work rich versus work poor households, male/female breadwinner households).
- Examine how the dynamic of family employment and childcare arrangements exerts an influence on child well-being at nine months (infant cognitive and behavioural skills and social-emotional development).
- Analyse the causal relationship between family employment and childcare arrangements on child well-being in the transition from infancy to early childhood (from nine months to age three).
- Examine how the dynamic of family employment and childcare arrangements exerts an influence on child well-being at age nine (social and emotional outcomes, cognitive skills and physical health).
The research seeks to address child well-being in a context of changing economic conditions and the changing nature of employment in the family context, the division of market work and childcare between males and females, diversity in the childcare market, and the continuing importance of the extended family. To date, little is known about how families navigate the early and middle childhood care and education market, and the extent to which this is informed (facilitated or constrained) by family and household employment structures. Further, little is known about how these family dynamics impact on child well-being in the Irish context.
The project draws on the qualitative and quantitative data collected by the Growing up in Ireland team, and new qualitative data collection at three case study sites.
Delma Byrne, Principal Investigator
Catriona O’Toole, Associate Investigator