When employed mothers of color transfer the care of their children to childcare providers, their needs and concerns reflect their status as members of historically subordinated racial ethnic groups in the United States. This paper introduces two new concepts—racial safety and cultural maintenance—to show how racial ethnic group membership and traditional cultural practices and values are critical concerns that influence the decisions and choices that employed mothers of color make about who will provide care for their children in their absence. This analysis is based on in-depth interviews with Mexican American, African American and Guamanian American employed mothers of infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children.

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