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Turning Point

The case against British au pair Louise Woodward raised concerns about our nation's child-care services. Can small business calm the storm?

This story appears in the April 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In the aftermath of the now-infamous trial, hasattracted 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 otherthan a parent. And most of these kids enter nonparental care by 3months of age, are cared for an average of 30 hours per week, andusually remain in such an arrangement until they start school.

All this has led to the boom of an industry that's wovenitself tightly into the social fabric of American life andcaptivated entrepreneurs--from day-care operators to in-homechild-care providers. But while studies have uncovered problemswith child care, the issue waned somewhat until Louise Woodward hitthe headlines, bringing to the surface parents' worstnightmares.

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