One of the most important issues in contemporary child welfare has to do with the possible benefits and dangers of day care for infants and young children. Like so many problems facing us today, the issue of day care is enormously complex because so many different factors of unknown quantity and degree can contribute to the outcome. And, if that were not enough, we really do not know what, when, and how to measure the outcome. Unlike a laboratory problem that we can define and limit, real life social phenomena challenge our traditional conceptualizations and methodologies and plead for new methods of investigation.
The issue of day care, and its impact on children, is a central concern of the two books considered here. In the first book, Infancy: Its Place in Human Development, Jerome Kagan and his colleagues describe an investigation of the effects of a day-care program in Boston's