The case against British au pair Louise Woodward raised concerns about our nation's child-care services. Can small business calm the storm?
In the aftermath of the now-infamous nanny trial, child care has attracted the nation's attention. The focus is understandable: According to the Children's Defense Fund, 13 million U.S. children spend part of every day being cared for by someone other than a parent. And most of these kids enter nonparental care by 3 months of age, are cared for an average of 30 hours per week, and usually remain in such an arrangement until they start school.
All this has led to the boom of an industry that's woven itself tightly into the social fabric of American life and captivated entrepreneurs--from day-care operators to in-home child-care providers. But while studies have uncovered problems with child care, the issue waned somewhat until Louise Woodward hit the headlines, bringing to the surface parents' worst nightmares.
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