Care Subsidies Improve Child and Family Well-Being
recent study suggests that child care subsidies improve both family
and child well-being. Researchers compared the status of 52 working
poor families receiving subsidies for child care with 50 demographically
matched families on a subsidy waitlist.
researchers found that child care subsidies may improve low-income
mothers' job retention. The employment rate for mothers in the group
receiving subsidies was 18 percent higher than the employment rate
for mothers who were on the waitlist. While mothers had to be employed
to get on the subsidy waiting list, in just a few months one in
five mothers on the waiting list had lost her job.
vast majority of working families in both groups had incomes below
the poverty line. However, the working families were better off
than those without employment. Working mothers had median monthly
incomes of $1,000 - double the median monthly incomes of unemployed
mothers on the waiting list. In addition, families on the waiting
lists were six times more likely than subsidy families to have incomes
less than half the federal poverty threshold. Since subsidies were
related to job retention, the differences in poverty rates between
the two groups is probably related to differences in maternal employment.
families also spent approximately half as much out-of-pocket per
week on child care than did the unsubsidized families. The combined
effect of higher employment rates, lower child care expenses, and
fewer families living in severe poverty indicate that families receiving
subsidies were economically better-off compared to families on the
waiting list. A consistent finding on the effects of poverty on
child well-being is that more severe and longer-lasting poverty
has more harmful effects on children. In addition, families with
subsidies reported both ease in finding child care and stability
of care over time.
Impacts of Child Care Subsidies on Family and Child Well-Being,
F. Brooks, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Volume 17, Number
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Facts in Action, May/June 2003