Legislation may mandate staffing ratios (for example, 6 weeks to 12 months, 1:4; 12 months to 18 months, 1:5; 18 months to 24 months, 1:9; etc.). The caregiver-to-child ratio is one factor indicative of quality of care. Ratios vary greatly by location and by daycare center. Potential consequences of a caregiver:child ratio which is too high could be very serious[citation needed]. However, many states allow a higher numbers of toddlers to caregivers and some centers do not comply consistently. For example, within the US: Pennsylvania, ages 1–3, 1 teacher to 5 children;[68] Missouri: age 2, 1 teacher to 8 children;[69] North Carolina: 1 teacher to 10 children.[67]

Many types of childcare discuss the different ways in which children are cared for by adults or older children. One additional type of child care involves children caring for adults. Children as caretakers are most often seen in developing countries with restricted or hard-to-access medical assistance. Child caretakers are common in families where the parents are affected by HIV/AIDS and other illnesses that might limit their parental functioning.[21]

In Canada, the workforce is predominantly female (95%) and low paid, averaging only 60% of average workforce wage. Many employees are at local minimum wage and are typically paid by the hour rather than salaried. In the United States, "child care worker" is the fifth most female-dominated occupation (95.5% female in 1999).[17] In the US, staffing requirements vary from state to state.
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