Neighborhood effects on working mothers' child care arrangements
The implementation of stricter work requirements for low-income mothers following passage of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act has elevated the importance of developing quality child care options for working families. Prior research indicates that the type of child care used not only is associated with maternal labor force participation, but also affects children's later cognitive outcomes. This study used the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study to examine whether neighborhood factors were related to the types of child care selected by employed mothers of three-year old children in the post-welfare reform era. Multinomial logistic regression analysis revealed that working mothers in neighborhoods with higher poverty rates were more likely to rely on relative care and family day care than on center care, and mothers in neighborhoods with higher immigrant rates were more likely to rely on family day care than center care. The findings are useful in informing social policies and interventions related to early child care education and child care provision for low-income families, particularly with respect to considering neighborhood factors in targeting parent education and child care development strategies.
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