Floribeth Umana started taking in neighborhood kids five years ago, while their mom's went to work. In order to support herself while caring for children, Umana joined Community Homes network, a government program that gives stipends to woman to provide child care in their neighborhoods. These home based day care centers were started in the nineties, allowing mothers to work. Fifty-six percent of Costa Rican homes now depend on two incomes, and the number is expected to rise.
Laura Chinchilla, Costa Rica's first woman president, wants to form a national day care system. Her goal is to protect children from poverty at a very young age and have them on an equal footing with other chidren by the time they start school. The present system is insufficient. Home day care, like Floribeth Umana's, is declining. Chinchilla wants to make the investment in children now through a national day care system, and she hopes that it will pay off in the future.