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Who’s Caring for Preschool Kids while Mom Works?*

This appeared to be the case when, in 1993, the nomination of Zoe Baird for attorney general suddenly was derailed by the revelations that she failed to pay taxes for her nanny. Wages to child-care providers remain low, and it is difficult for both agencies and individuals to find competent workers and keep costs affordable. Many have recruited immigrant women, often highly skilled and willing to work for low wages because they cannot get other jobs. However, the law has stringent rules for hiring immigrant workers (mostly designed for business employers, not individual families), including satisfying immigration work regulations, paying social security, and withholding taxes. Prior to the publicity of the Baird nomination, people hiring individuals to work at their homes either were unaware of the regulations or ignored them, in both cases breaking the law. When it turned out that the candidate for the top law enforcement position-a working mother charged with responsibility for providing care for her child-had been guilty of taking this illegal way out, she was forced to withdraw.7 As is so often the case in American politics, the publicity surrounding a single

Family Day Care 19.1% Formal Day Care 29.7 Nanny or Sitter 3.6 Relative 30.9 Dad 33.2 Brother/Sister 0.8