The impact of child care subsidy use on child care quality

Author(s): Ryan, Rebecca; Johnson, Anna D.; Rigby, Dawn Elizabeth; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne
Date Issued: Q3 2011
Description: 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. (author abstract)
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Journal Title: Early Childhood Research Quarterly
Volume Number: 26
Issue Number: 3
Page Range: 320-331
Topics: Child Care & Early Education Quality

Parents & Families > Selection Of Child Care & Early Education Arrangements

Policies > Child Care & Early Education Policies > Subsidies
Country: United States
States: CALIFORNIA, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, MASSACHUSETTS, MARYLAND, MICHIGAN, MISSISSIPPI, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, TENNESSEE, TEXAS, VIRGINIA, WISCONSIN
ISSN: 0885-2006 Paper
1873-7706 Online
Peer Reviewed: yes
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