The governments of many industrialized societies have developed extensive childcare facilities and services to meet the needs of young children and their working parents, but no such program on a national scale has yet evolve in the United Staes. Some who oppose federal aid or control believe that mothers should remain at home with their preschool children rather than turn them over to childcare professionals--the "friendly intruders" of the titels--and that any other policy is a threat to the moral climate and stability of family life. However, since the demand for childcare services is very great, and since Congress has previously passed relevant legislation (which was vetoed by President Nixon), the issue of childcare will surely rise again soon. In this study, based upon direct observation of a local childcare program in California, the author examines several pof the practical policy issues concerning childcare which have not yet been resolved. Who will control such programs in the future, public school systems or others? Which agencies or institutions will certify the competence of childcare personnel? To what extent will parents contribute to the content of the programs provided for their young children? A major part of Professor Joffe's study is concerned with the emerging professionalism of early childhood educators. In a pattern now understood to be classic, such persons seek status and recognition through education, certification, and membership in professional associations. However, what happens when parents and professional disagree about values, behavioral norms, and the educational content of a nursery school program? Who is the "expert" in such a confrontation? The author observed profoundly different orientations to childcare not only between professionals and parents, but also among different groups of parents, especially along racial and class lines; how can professionals accommodate such differences? The author's conclusions emerge from careful study of day-by-day encounters between staff, parents and supervisors, giving to her book a sense of immediacy and well-focused understanding that is rarely achieved in academic studies. Parents, educators and policy analysts concerned with the subject will find it indispensable. This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1977.