Effects of household composition on the organization of childcare in the Plateau Central region of Haiti, and associated outcomes with child growth

Date of Completion

January 2006


Anthropology, Cultural|Education, Early Childhood




Child malnutrition is a significant problem in Haiti. The UNICEF model of "Care" for children provides an organizational framework for understanding the antecedents to poor nutrition and health in young children. Of the many components included in the model, the identity and skill level of alternate caregivers is an area that has received comparatively little attention by investigators. Variable associations between childcare provider and child growth have been found. In Haiti, Devin (1993) found that the identity of alternate caregivers is associated with the nutritional health of children. ^ Households most often form the context in which childcare arrangements take place. Identification of household structures may offer predictive value for these arrangements, and hence may be useful in the identification of settings where childcare may be compromised.^ This study used data from the larger IFPRI/Cornell/World Vision-Haiti, collected in the Plateau Central region of Haiti, to determine the relationship between household structures and the orchestration of childcare for young children, whether delivered by the mother or a substitute. Associations are also made between household demographic and childcare variables, and growth of the index children (aged 17-24 months). Household structures are presented using a household evolutionary framework, as presented by Smith (1956).^ The findings of this study suggest that household structure plays a significant role in the determination of childcare providers. In addition, though little variability in child growth Z scores is explained by the variables included here, household structure does appear to have a moderate effect on the risk of wasting in young children.^