ROSIE THE RIVETER and her sisters had an important ally in their contributions to the Allies' victory in World War II. They were able to fill jobs critical to the war effort because the United States government provided crucial help in the form of centers to care for their children.
As the war drew to a close in 1945, two women in Maryland recognized that the need for day care for the children of working women would not necessarily end with the return of peace. In November 1945, Sadie D. Ginsberg and Agnes Bevan Park led the effort to establish the Maryland Committee for Group Day Care of Children to keep alive public interest in child care programs and improve their quality.
Sure enough, the federal government withdrew its financial support of these programs within a few months. Many, but not all, of the Rosies stayed home for the next couple of decades. But as increasing numbers of women have returned to the work force, the need for good child care has grown as well.
After a half-century of persistent advocacy by the group now known as the Maryland Committee for Children, families in this state have access to better child care programs than in most other parts of the country. For each of the past four years, Working Mother magazine has cited Maryland as one of the country's 10 best states for child care.
From regulations to ensure the health and safety of children to efforts to fill the hours children spend away from their parents with wholesome activity and educational opportunities, there is no shortage of challenges for advocates of better child care. The quality of care children have in their earliest years is critical to their success in school and later in life. As it culminates a year of celebration at the half-century mark, Maryland Committee for Children deserves gratitude and best wishes.