In Focus: Child Care Subsidies

Aug 26, 2014  |  PERMALINK »

New Fact Sheets on 2012 CCDBG Participation at All Ages

By Hannah Matthews and Rhiannon Reeves

Three new fact sheets from CLASP provide information on child care services funded by the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). In 2012, the program provided child care assistance for 1.5 million children. CCDBG is the primary source of federal funding for child care subsidies for low-income working families and to improve child care quality. It typically provides child care assistance to children from birth to age 13.

Based on preliminary state-reported data from the federal Office of Child Care, the fact sheets reveal the great variability in child care assistance programs among states. In 2012, highlights include:

  • The number of children receiving CCDBG-funded child care fell to its lowest levels since 1998. Several states reported decreases of up to 35 percent in numbers of children served between 2011 and 2012.
  • Ninety-three percent of families receiving CCDBG were working and/or in education or training programs.
  • CCDBG serves children from diverse backgrounds. Forty-three percent of children served were white; 42 percent were African American; 1 percent were Native American or Alaskan Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 3 percent were multi-racial; and a race was not reported for 8 percent of children.
  • Sixty-three percent of CCDBG families paid co-payments for child care, with the mean co-payment amount being 7 percent of a family’s income.

Fact sheets on Infants and Toddlers in CCDBG: 2012 Update and School-Age Children in CCDGB: 2012 Update highlight key information about younger and older groups of children receiving child care assistance through CCDBG.

  • Nationally, 28 percent of children served by CCDBG in 2012 were under age 3, 39 percent were ages 3 to 5, and 33 percent were ages 6 to 13.
  • Nearly 64 percent of infants and toddlers in CCDBG live in families with household incomes below the federal poverty level.
  • Sixty-five percent of infants, 70 percent of toddlers, and 62 percent of school-aged children served through CCDBG are cared for in center-based settings.

State-specific information on CCDBG participation is also available via CLASP's DataFinder tool.

View CCDBG Participation in 2012 fact sheets here>>

View Infants and Toddlers in CCDBG: 2012 Update here>>

View School-Age Children in CCDGB: 2012 Update here>>

Aug 22, 2014  |  PERMALINK »

Job Schedule Instability in the Lives of Poor Children and their Families

By Rhiannon Reeves

For low-income parents with volatile job schedules, obtaining safe, reliable child care is extremely challenging. This was illustrated in a recent New York Times article about a young single mother  whose personal, professional, and family lives were severely disrupted by her employer’s scheduling practices. With her schedule constantly changing—often at the last minute—she was forced to patch together care for her son that combined time in a subsidized preschool program with support from various relatives.

Unpredictable work schedules and the resulting scramble for stable child care have dire consequences for young children’s healthy development. As the body of evidence builds, more and more people are calling for changes to workplace policies, child care subsidy policy and practice, and further research to help stabilize the lives of poor children and their families.

In November 2013, the Urban Institute, with support from the Foundation for Child Development, convened practitioners, policymakers, and researchers to explore the impacts of instability on children, as well as implications for policy and practice.  Participants offered insights from a variety of disciplines on how federal and state policies can address the developmental risks that instability—in housing, health care, education, daily routines, and caregiving—poses for children. Last month, the Urban Institute published a report based on the November meeting along with a series of essays from some of the participants.

An essay from CLASP Executive Director Olivia Golden suggests several broad policy approaches, including:

  • Improving continuity of services in public programs, such as child care subsidies, to support children and families experiencing instability.
  • Interrupting cycles that disrupt continuity of services.  For example, the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act gives children without housing the right to remain in the same school they attended before becoming homeless—even if they’re residing in another district.
  • Protecting stable relationships in a child’s life to mitigate the impact of other instability challenges.
  • Tackling challenges in the low-wage labor market, such as lack of access to paid leave that contribute to cycles of instability.

The continued growth of low-wage employment demonstrates a clear need for policy and practice reforms that support stability for children and families. Policies that strengthen workforce development, support continuity of income supports, and promote fair job schedules can help families achieve economic security while supporting children’s healthy development during critical early years.

Read the participants essays here>>

Read the full report here>>

Aug 14, 2014  |  PERMALINK »

Head Start Children, Families, Staff, and Programs in 2013

By Christina Walker and Stephanie Schmit

Head Start programs provide poor children and their families with comprehensive early education and support services. Each year, programs are required to submit a Program Information Report (PIR) to the Office of Head Start on participating children, pregnant women, and families, as well as the staff serving the Head Start population.

In 2013, the Head Start program served more than 1.1 million children, approximately 166,000 of whom were under the age of 3, and 15,400 pregnant women through Head Start (HS) preschool, Early Head Start (EHS), and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs combined. HS preschool served 85 percent of all federally funded slots, with EHS and MSHS each serving 12 and 3 percent of slots respectively. The 2013 appropriation for all Head Start programs was just over $8 billion; however, federal budget cuts (known as sequestration) were in effect during this school year, resulting in reduced funding for this and other federal programs. While some Head Start programs managed sequestration by reducing the number of children served, others cut back schedules or made other cuts in their budgets.

The program information data demonstrate how important Head Start services are in the lives of these children and families. In 2013, the PIR data showed that:

  • Seventy-five percent of families accessed at least one family service through their Head Start program. The most frequently accessed services were parent education (50 percent) and health education (47 percent).
  • At the end of their Head Start enrollment, 97 percent of children had continuous access to medical care, 96 percent had health insurance, and 96 percent were up to date on their immunizations.
  • Sixty-three percent of families using Head Start included at least one employed parent, and fifteen percent of families had at least one parent in school or job training.
  • Ninety-four percent of pregnant women enrolled in EHS received prenatal health care and 76 percent received postnatal health care. Additionally, 92 percent of pregnant women had health insurance at the end of the program year, 40 percent received a dental examination, and 31 percent accessed mental health interventions (a decrease of 4 percent from the previous year).
  • In the Head Start Preschool Program, 95 percent of teachers had at least an associate degree (A.A.) in early childhood education or a related field—a 2 percent increase from 2012. In addition, 67 percent of teachers had a bachelor’s degree (B.A.) or higher in early childhood education or a related field—a 5 percent increase from 2012.
  • In the MSHS program, 98 percent of children had a medical home for ongoing medical care and 91 percent had a source for ongoing dental care by the end of the program year. 

Read more about Head Start preschool, Early Head Start, and Migrant and Seasonal (new this year) participants, families, and staff. 

View state-by-state Head Start and Early Head Start data through CLASP's unique web-based DataFinder.

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