Category Archives: Child Care Workers

Persistent Gaps: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2017

Source: Karen Schulman and Helen Blank, National Women’s Law Center, October 2017

From the summary:
Child care is crucial for the well-being of parents, children, and our nation. It makes it possible for parents to work and support their families. It gives children a safe, nurturing environment to learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life. And, by strengthening the current and future workforce, it bolsters our nation’s economy. Yet many families, particularly low-income families, struggle with the high cost of child care. These costs can strain families’ budgets, force parents to use lower-cost care even if they would prefer other options for their children, or prevent parents from working because they cannot afford care. Child care assistance can enable families to overcome these challenges by helping families pay for child care.

Given the importance of child care assistance to families, it is essential for states to have strong child care assistance policies. Under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the major federal child care assistance program, states have flexibility to set policies within federal parameters. This report examines states’ policies in five key areas—income eligibility limits to qualify for child care assistance, waiting lists for child care assistance, copayments required of parents receiving child care assistance, payment rates for child care providers serving families receiving child care assistance, and eligibility for child care assistance for parents searching for a job. These policies are fundamental to determining families’ ability to obtain child care assistance and the extent of help that assistance provides.

– Families in 41 states were better off—having greater access to assistance and/or receiving greater benefits from assistance—in February 2017 than in February 2016 under one or more child care assistance policies covered in this report.
– Families in 14 states were worse off under one or more of these policies in February 2017 than in February 2016.

Although there were more improvements than cutbacks between 2016 and 2017, the improvements states made were generally modest and too small to close persistent, substantial gaps in families’ access to assistance and the level of assistance available.

Head Start may keep kids out of foster care

Source: Andy Henion, Futurity, October 9, 2017

Head Start programs may keep young children from being placed in foster care, new research suggests.

Kids up to age five in the federal government’s preschool program were 93 percent less likely to end up in foster care than kids in the child welfare system who had no type of early care and education, says Sacha Klein, an assistant professor of social work at Michigan State University.

Klein and colleagues examined multiple forms of early care and education—from daycare with a family member to more structured programs—and found Head Start was the only one to guard against foster care placement.

Related:
Early care and education arrangements and young children’s risk of foster placement: Findings from a National Child Welfare Sample
Source: Sacha Klein, Lauren Fries, Mary M.Emmons, Children and Youth Services Review, In Press – Accepted Manuscript, Available online 6 September 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
A primary goal of the U.S. child welfare system (CWS) is to maintain children investigated for maltreatment in their parents’ homes whenever safely possible. This study explores the possibility that early care and education (ECE) services (e.g., child care, preschool, day care) can help the CWS achieve this goal by using a nationally representative sample of children referred to CWS for suspected maltreatment to measure the relationship between ECE receipt and the likelihood that 0–5 year olds in the CWS will be placed in foster care approximately 18 months later. Specifically, logistic regression analyses explore the relationship between: (1) regular ECE participation (yes/no), and (2) type of ECE arrangement (Head Start, other center- or home-based ECE, family/friend/relative ECE, other ECE, and multiple types of ECE) and foster placement risk. After controlling for multiple socio-demographic characteristics and foster placement risk factors, children who received ECE (yes/no) were no less likely to be placed in foster care than children who received no ECE. However, when exploring type of ECE arrangement, children who received Head Start were 93% less likely to be placed in foster care than children with no ECE. Children who participated in multiple types of ECE were almost seven times more likely to be placed in foster care than children with no ECE. These results suggest that Head Start may help maltreated children avoid foster placement and that experiencing multiple types of ECE is a risk factor for foster placement. It is recommended that caseworkers routinely assess the ECE service history and needs of families with young children who come in contact with the CWS, paying attention to the type and number of ECE services used.

Highlights
• We explore whether receipt of early care and education (ECE) services reduces the likelihood of foster placement for 0-5 year olds in the U.S. child welfare system.
• ECE receipt (yes/no) was unrelated to children’s odds of being placed in foster care.
• However, children who participated in Head Start preschools were 93% less likely to be placed in foster care than children who received no ECE.
• Children who used multiple types of ECE were almost seven times more likely to be placed in foster care than children who received no ECE.

Breaking the Cycle? Intergenerational Effects of an Anti-Poverty Program in Early Childhood

Source: Andrew Barr, Chloe R. Gibbs, Texas A&M University and Notre Dame, August 2017

From the abstract:
Despite substantial evidence that resources and outcomes are transmitted across generations, there has been limited inquiry into the extent to which anti-poverty programs actually disrupt the cycle of bad outcomes. We explore how the effects of the United States’ largest early childhood program transfer across generations. We leverage the geographic rollout of this federally funded, means-tested preschool program to estimate the effect of early childhood exposure among mothers on their children’s long-term outcomes. We find evidence of intergenerational transmission of effects in the form of increased educational attainment, reduced teen pregnancy, and reduced criminal engagement in the second generation.

A Childcare Agenda for the Left

Source: Heidi Hartmann and Gina Chirillo, Dissent, Fall 2017

It has to be taken as a sign of progress that the presidential candidates of both major political parties talked about providing child care and paid family leave in their campaigns, for the first time in U.S. history. But despite this progress, the Trump administration’s child-care proposal is not comprehensive enough to be of much use to the large numbers of low-income families in great need. Trump’s child-care proposal is—surprise, surprise—another tax giveaway to upper-income taxpayers, disguised as an increased tax credit for struggling low-income families. The increase is vanishingly small for low earners. In response to Trump’s plan, Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott drafted the Child Care for Working Families Act. A summary of the bill, expected to be introduced in full tomorrow, shows a more comprehensive plan for high-quality early learning and affordable child care.

Subsidized child care and paid family leave are crucial for American families because they have the potential to increase disposable family income and reduce poverty and inequality in a meaningful way. They are also essential for achieving gender equality, key for children’s well-being, and a stimulus to the economy. For all these reasons, any progressive or Democratic Party platform must include wide-ranging child care and paid family leave proposals. Trump’s plan doesn’t get us there, but as in many other countries with our wealth, we can and must humanize our economic system by building in time and resources for caring for our families…..

Related:
2 Million Parents Forced to Make Career Sacrifices Due to Problems with Child Care
Source: Leila Schochet and Rasheed Malik, Center for American Progress, September 13, 2017

State of Preschool 2016

Source: W. Steven Barnett, Allison H. Friedman-Krauss, G.G. Weisenfeld, Michelle Horowitz, Richard Kasmin, James H. Squires, National Institute for Early Education Research, 2017

From the summary:
The State of Preschool 2016 is the latest edition of our annual yearbook report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. NIEER’s State Preschool Yearbook is the only national report on state-funded preschool programs with detailed information on enrollment, funding, teacher qualifications, and other policies related to quality, such as the presence of a qualified teacher and assistant, small class size, and low teacher-to-student ratio.

This Yearbook presents data on state-funded preschool during the 2015-2016 school year and documents more than a decade of change in state preschool since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year. The 2016 Yearbook profiles state-funded preschool programs in 43 states, plus Guam and the District of Columbia and provides narrative information on early education efforts in states and the U.S. territories that do not provide state-funded preschool.

Nationwide, state-funded preschool program enrollment reached an all-time high, serving nearly 1.5 million children, 32 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds. State funding for preschool rose 8 percent to about $7.4 billion, a $564 million increase. State funding per child increased to $4,976, exceeding pre-recession levels for the first time. Six state funded preschool programs met all 10 current quality standards benchmarks. Nine states had programs that met fewer than half; and seven states do not fund preschool at all.

Current benchmarks were designed to help states build programs, focusing on resources and policies related to the structural aspects of public preschool—elements needed for a high-quality program but not fully defining one. This year, NIEER is introducing major revisions to the policy benchmarks for the first time since the Yearbook was launched. The new benchmarks raise the bar by focusing on policies that more directly support continuous improvement of classroom quality. State profiles in the 2016 Yearbook include both current and new benchmark scores…..
Related:
Executive summary
State profiles
Yearbook contents

Early Care and Education State Budget Actions FY 2017

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, April 28, 2017

NCSL surveyed 50 state legislative fiscal offices on their FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017 state appropriations for various early care and education programs—child care, prekindergarten, home visiting and other related programs. Early Care and Education Budget Actions FY 2017 provides a snapshot of state funding investments from 36 states that responded to the survey in these areas. Click on each of the tabs to see specific changes to appropriations for child care, prekindergarten, home visiting and other early childhood programs that occurred from FY 2016 to FY 2017….

Child Care Expenses Push Many Families Into Poverty

Source: Beth Mattingly, Christopher T. Wimer, University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy, National Fact Sheet no. 36, Spring 2017

From the summary:
How often are low-income families pushed into poverty by their child care expenses? In this fact sheet, we use the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to assess the extent to which child care expenses are pushing families with young children into poverty.

Nearly one-third (30.4 percent) of families with young children are poor. To fall under the SPM poverty line means that a family’s income would be less than $26,000 a year on average, with variations by family composition and geographic location. Among poor families with young children, 12.3 percent incur child care expenses according to our analyses of the SPM. For families earning this little income, child care expense can be a burden. Of those who pay for child care, nearly one in ten (9.4 percent) are poor (Figure 1). Roughly one third of these poor families are pushed into poverty by child care expenses. This represents an estimated 207,000 families.

Among families with young children who pay for child care, those with three or more children, those headed by a single parent, those with black or Hispanic household heads, and those headed by someone with less than a high school degree or by someone who does not work full time are most often pushed into poverty by child care expenses. Notably, these are also the families that tend to have the highest rates of poverty.

Key Findings:
• One third of poor families who pay for child care for their young children are pushed into poverty by their child care expenses.
• Families most often pushed into poverty by child care expenses include households with three or more children, those headed by a single parent, those with a black or Hispanic head of household, and those headed by someone with less than a high school degree or by someone who does not work full time.
Related:
Press release