Unsupervised Time: Family and Child Factors Associated with Self-Care

Research Report

Unsupervised Time: Family and Child Factors Associated with Self-Care

Abstract

According to data from the 1999 round of the National Survey of America's Families, 3.3 million 6- to 12-year-old children regularly take care of themselves without adult supervision. Seven percent of children ages 6 to 9 and 12 percent of low-income children are in self-care. Self-care is more likely among 10- to 12-year-olds and children from higher-income families. Parents' full-time employment and parental symptoms of poor mental health are related to an increase in self-care for both younger and older children. The presence of teenagers in the family is related to an increased likelihood of self-care only among younger children. A limiting physical, mental, or health condition is related to a decreased likelihood of self-care only among younger children. Full-time employment and an increase in a child's age are related to an increase in self-care for both low- and higher-income children. In both income groups, Hispanic children are less likely to be in self-care than other groups.

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