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Caring for Children While Working in Agriculture—The Perspective of Farmworker Parents

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parent and child look into orchard

Photo: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

 

[Editor’s Note: Clinicians serving farmworker families recognize that lack of access to childcare can be a safety concern. Here’s the abstract of an article co-written by MCN’s Amy Liebman and Juliana Simmons that summarizes some of the work to date on our project, Protecting Children While Parents Work, published recently in the Journal of Agromedicine. Learn more about our Environmental and Occupational Health initiatives at: http://www.migrantclinician.org/services/initiatives/occupational-health.html.]

Liebman AK, Simmons J, Salzwedel M, Tovar-aguilar A, Lee BC. Caring for Children While Working in Agriculture-The Perspective of Farmworker Parents. J Agromedicine. 2017;22(4):406-415. https://doi.org/10.1080/1059924X.2017.1358229

Access to safe, off-farm childcare is often a challenge for farmworkers with young children and is likely to become an increasingly salient barrier as more agricultural workers migrate together with families and as the number of women entering the agricultural workforce increases. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries, and the presence of young children in the workplace puts them at risk. To better understand the current nature of childcare for farmworker families and the challenges to accessing services, this project facilitated in-person surveys with 132 parents in three communities in Florida. A convenience sample that intentionally targeted parents living and working in areas with limited access to Migrant and Seasonal Head Start facilities was used to recruit participants. Most participants reported childcare access as a challenge. They expressed a desire to work in an area based on childcare availability. These findings offer agribusiness leaders important data to consider. They also suggest that industry support of childcare may be an important workforce investment. Findings indicate that high quality, affordable off-farm childcare services could serve as a means for attracting farmworkers to regions currently experiencing labor shortages. Additional research is warranted to explore this subject in diverse geographic areas.

 

MCN Streamline Fall 2018

 

Read this article in the Winter 2018 issue of Streamline here!

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