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Who uses child care subsidies? Comparing recipients to eligible non-recipients on family background characteristics and child care preferences

  • Johnson, Anna D.
  • Martin, Anne
  • Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne
Registered author(s):

    The federally funded, state-administered child care subsidy program provides subsidies to low-income families. Despite being among the government's most significant investments in early care and education, recent national estimates suggest that fewer than 30% of eligible families receive subsidies and the predictors of subsidy receipt remain poorly understood. This study investigates the predictors of subsidy receipt among eligible families, with data drawn from the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study -- Birth Cohort (ECLS-B). Using logit regression models, we compare subsidy recipients to the eligible non-recipients of subsidies as a group, and then classified by the type of care the non-recipients do use: Head Start, public pre-kindergarten, or unsubsidized care. Results indicate that subsidy recipients are generally more advantaged than the eligible non-recipients of subsidies. In particular, subsidy recipients have more resources and fewer hassles than eligible non-recipients. These findings can aid state subsidy administrators in more effectively targeting their outreach and enrollment efforts and ultimately in increasing the use of this important program.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740911000417
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Children and Youth Services Review.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 7 (July)
    Pages: 1072-1083

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:33:y:2011:i:7:p:1072-1083
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/childyouth

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    1. Susanna Loeb & Bruce Fuller & Sharon Lynn Kagan & Bidemi Carrol & Judith Carroll, 2003. "Child Care in Poor Communities: Early Learning Effects of Type, Quality, and Stability," NBER Working Papers 9954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Chris Herbst & Burt Barnow, 2008. "Close to Home: A Simultaneous Equations Model of the Relationship Between Child Care Accessibility and Female Labor Force Participation," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 128-151, March.
    3. Lisa A. Gennetian & Danielle A. Crosby & Aletha C. Huston & Edward D. Lowe, 2004. "Can child care assistance in welfare and employment programs support the employment of low-income families?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 723-743.
    4. Tekin, Erdal, 2005. "Child care subsidy receipt, employment, and child care choices of single mothers," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 1-6, October.
    5. Nicole Forry, 2009. "The Impact of Child Care Subsidies on Low-Income Single Parents: An Examination of Child Care Expenditures and Family Finances," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 43-54, March.
    6. Ann Dryden Witte & Magaly Queralt, 2002. "Take-Up Rates and Trade Offs After the Age of Entitlement: Some Thoughts and Empirical Evidence for Child Care Subsidies," NBER Working Papers 8886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. David Blau & Erdal Tekin, 2007. "The determinants and consequences of child care subsidies for single mothers in the USA," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 719-741, October.
    8. Herbst, Chris M., 2008. "Who are the eligible non-recipients of child care subsidies?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1037-1054, September.
    9. Rachel Gordon & P. Chase-Lansdale, 2001. "Availability of child care in the United States: A description and analysis of data sources," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 299-316, May.
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