The Impact of Child Care Subsidy Use on Child Care Quality.

Georgetown University.
Early Childhood Research Quarterly (Impact Factor: 1.67). 07/2011; 26(3):320-331. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2010.11.004
Source: PubMed


In 2008, the federal government allotted $7 billion in child care subsidies to low-income families through the state-administered Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), now the government's largest child care program (US DHHS, 2008). Although subsidies reduce costs for families and facilitate parental employment, it is unclear how they impact the quality of care families purchase. This study investigates the impact of government subsidization on parents' selection of child care quality using multivariate regression and propensity score matching approaches to account for differential selection into subsidy receipt and care arrangements. Data were drawn from the Child Care Supplement to the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (CCS-FFCWS), conducted in 2002 and 2003 in 14 of the 20 FFCWS cities when focal children were 3 years old (N = 456). Our results indicate that families who used subsidies chose higher quality care than comparable mothers who did not use subsidies, but only because subsidy recipients were more likely to use center-based care. Subgroup analyses revealed that families using subsidies purchased higher-quality home-based care but lower-quality center-based care than comparable non-recipients. Findings suggest that child care subsidies may serve as more than a work support for low-income families by enhancing the quality of nonmaternal care children experience but that this effect is largely attributable to recipients' using formal child care arrangements (versus kith and kin care) more often than non-recipients.

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Available from: Anna D Johnson, Mar 12, 2015
    • "Studies examine the predictors of subsidy receipt ðMeyers and Heintze 1999; Tekin 2005, 2007; Durfee and Meyers 2006; Blau and Tekin 2007; Herbst 2008; Johnson, Martin, and Brooks-Gunn 2011Þ, as well as the effects of child-care subsidies on child and family outcomes. A particular focus of the literature is the effect of subsidy on parental employment ðMeyers, Heintze, and Wolf 2002; Blau and Tekin 2007; Tekin 2007; Ahn 2012Þ.There are also studies of how subsidy receipt is related to child-care choices ðTekin 2005; Weinraub et al. 2005; Ertas and Shields 2012Þ, child-care quality ðRigby, Ryan, and Brooks-Gunn 2007; Ryan et al. 2011; Johnson, Ryan, and Brooks-Gunn 2012Þ, child development and school readiness ðHerbst and Tekin 2010; Forry, Davis, and Welti 2013; Johnson et al. 2013Þ, and child and maternal well-being ðHerbst and Tekin 2011a, 2012, 2014; Healy and Dunifon 2014Þ. While these studies use a variety of methods and data sources, survey data are the most common data source for studies of the child-care subsidy program. 2 The validity of these data as an accurate measure of benefit receipt is therefore of importance to research and policy. "

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    • "The association between type of care and subsidy receipt has been reported in two ways: Families that use informal care are less likely to apply for subsidies (Burstein & Layzer, 2007), and families that are receiving subsidies are more likely to use center care than unsubsidized families in the same communities (Shlay et al., 2004). Ryan and colleagues (2011) found that families receiving subsidies used higher quality family child care but lower quality center-based care than eligible nonrecipients. They proposed that subsidies may operate differently in different types of child care arrangements. "
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    ABSTRACT: Research Findings: This study investigated parents’ experiences using Child Care and Development Fund and other state-dispersed child care subsidies, reasons for choosing their current child care program, and perceptions of the quality of child care received from their current program. A telephone survey of 659 parents receiving child care subsidies in 4 states showed that parents gave generally positive ratings to accessibility and reliability of subsidies, reported that child care subsidies were a substantial benefit to them, and gave low ratings to limitations of child care subsidies. However, 40% of parents reported that they had experienced a disruption in eligibility for subsidy. Parent experiences with child care subsidies varied by state. Parents in the sample identified 4 criteria used to choose their child care program: (a) characteristics of the provider, (b) convenience, (c) whether the provider was licensed or accredited, and (d) whether a personal relationship existed with the provider. Selection criteria varied by type of care parents were using. The majority of the participants rated the overall quality of their child care as perfect or excellent (73.6%), but ratings of quality also varied by the type of child care parents were using. Practice or Policy: Implications for child care subsidy program administration and for improving the quality of child care purchased by public subsidies in the context of parental choice are discussed.
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