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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Lowe, Edward D.; Weisner, Thomas S.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2001

    We use qualitative and quantitative data from a multi-year study of low-income families included in New Hope, an experimental anti-poverty intervention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to understand why low-income families’ use of program-based child care as well as subsidies offered to pay for such care is often low and/or episodic. Ethnographic analyses from 38 families in experimental and control groups suggest that child care choices and subsidy use must fit into the family daily routines and with the beliefs people have about child care. Both ecocultural theory and parents’ own reports of child care decisions suggest four themes accounting for child care choice: material and social resources; conflicts in the family; values and beliefs about parenting and child development; and predictability and stability of child care. Child care subsidy programs can be more effective if they offer greater flexibility and a range of options that better fit into the varied daily routines of the low-income families they are intended to serve. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a...

    We use qualitative and quantitative data from a multi-year study of low-income families included in New Hope, an experimental anti-poverty intervention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to understand why low-income families’ use of program-based child care as well as subsidies offered to pay for such care is often low and/or episodic. Ethnographic analyses from 38 families in experimental and control groups suggest that child care choices and subsidy use must fit into the family daily routines and with the beliefs people have about child care. Both ecocultural theory and parents’ own reports of child care decisions suggest four themes accounting for child care choice: material and social resources; conflicts in the family; values and beliefs about parenting and child development; and predictability and stability of child care. Child care subsidy programs can be more effective if they offer greater flexibility and a range of options that better fit into the varied daily routines of the low-income families they are intended to serve. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper previously published by MDRC.

  • Individual Author: Schulman, Karen; Blank, Helen
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    A study by the National Women’s Law Center of child care policies in 50 states and the District of Columbia reveals that between February of 2008 and February of 2009 more states made cuts than made improvements in desperately needed child care assistance, worsening an already bleak landscape for parents trying to afford reliable child care. (author abstract)

    A study by the National Women’s Law Center of child care policies in 50 states and the District of Columbia reveals that between February of 2008 and February of 2009 more states made cuts than made improvements in desperately needed child care assistance, worsening an already bleak landscape for parents trying to afford reliable child care. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Forry, Nicole D.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    Evidence regarding the degree to which child care subsidies support low-income, employed parents’ financial resources is lacking. This study used two samples to evaluate the impact of child care subsidies on parents’ child care payments and the percentage of household income spent on child care. Cross-sectional and longitudinal multivariate models were supplemented with descriptive information on parents’ perceptions of the impacts of child care costs and child care subsidies on family finances. Child care subsidies were found to reduce child care costs by a small but statistically significant amount. Approximately half of parents who received a subsidy reported that it positively affected their financial well-being, allowing them to afford non-child care services, save money, and pay bills or debts. (author abstract)

    Evidence regarding the degree to which child care subsidies support low-income, employed parents’ financial resources is lacking. This study used two samples to evaluate the impact of child care subsidies on parents’ child care payments and the percentage of household income spent on child care. Cross-sectional and longitudinal multivariate models were supplemented with descriptive information on parents’ perceptions of the impacts of child care costs and child care subsidies on family finances. Child care subsidies were found to reduce child care costs by a small but statistically significant amount. Approximately half of parents who received a subsidy reported that it positively affected their financial well-being, allowing them to afford non-child care services, save money, and pay bills or debts. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Schulman, Karen; Blank, Helen
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Child care helps children, families, and communities prosper. It gives children the opportunity to learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life. It gives parents the support and peace of mind they need to be productive at work. And, by strengthening the current and future workforce, it helps our nation’s economy. Yet many families, particularly low-income families, struggle to afford child care. The average fee for full-time care ranges from approximately $3,900 to $15,000 a year, depending on where the family lives, the type of care, and the age of the child. Child care assistance can help families with these high child care costs.

    Despite the importance of child care assistance, families in twenty-four states were worse off—having more limited access to assistance and/or receiving more limited benefits from assistance—in February 2013 than in February 2012 under one or more child care assistance policies covered in this report. But families in twenty-seven states were better off under one or more of these policies in February 2013 than in February...

    Child care helps children, families, and communities prosper. It gives children the opportunity to learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life. It gives parents the support and peace of mind they need to be productive at work. And, by strengthening the current and future workforce, it helps our nation’s economy. Yet many families, particularly low-income families, struggle to afford child care. The average fee for full-time care ranges from approximately $3,900 to $15,000 a year, depending on where the family lives, the type of care, and the age of the child. Child care assistance can help families with these high child care costs.

    Despite the importance of child care assistance, families in twenty-four states were worse off—having more limited access to assistance and/or receiving more limited benefits from assistance—in February 2013 than in February 2012 under one or more child care assistance policies covered in this report. But families in twenty-seven states were better off under one or more of these policies in February 2013 than in February 2012. The policies covered are critical in determining families’ ability to obtain child care assistance and the extent of help that assistance offers—income eligibility limits to qualify for child care assistance, waiting lists for child care assistance, copayments required of parents receiving child care assistance, reimbursement rates for child care providers serving families receiving child care assistance, and eligibility for child care assistance for parents searching for a job.

    This year’s trend—with the situation for families improved in slightly more states than in which it worsened—was more positive than in the previous two years, when the situation worsened for families in more states than it improved. In February 2012, families in twenty-seven states were worse off under one or more child care assistance policies covered in this report, and families in seventeen states were better off under one or more of these policies, than in February 2011. In February 2011, families in thirty-seven states were worse off under one or more of these policies, and families in eleven states were better off under one or more of these policies, than in February 2010. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Blau, David M.
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2001

    The child care system in the United States is widely criticized, yet the underlying structural problems are difficult to pin down. In The Child Care Problem, David M. Blau sets aside the often emotional terms of the debate and applies a rigorous economic analysis to the state of the child care system in this country, arriving at a surprising diagnosis of the root of the problem.

    Blau approaches child care as a service that is bought and sold in markets, addressing such questions as: What kinds of child care are available? Is good care really hard to find? How do costs affect the services families choose? Why are child care workers underpaid relative to other professions? He finds that the child care market functions much better than is commonly believed. The supply of providers has kept pace with the number of mothers entering the workforce, and costs remain relatively modest. Yet most families place a relatively low value on high-quality child care, and are unwilling to pay more for better care. Blau sees this lack of demand—rather than the market's inadequate supply—as...

    The child care system in the United States is widely criticized, yet the underlying structural problems are difficult to pin down. In The Child Care Problem, David M. Blau sets aside the often emotional terms of the debate and applies a rigorous economic analysis to the state of the child care system in this country, arriving at a surprising diagnosis of the root of the problem.

    Blau approaches child care as a service that is bought and sold in markets, addressing such questions as: What kinds of child care are available? Is good care really hard to find? How do costs affect the services families choose? Why are child care workers underpaid relative to other professions? He finds that the child care market functions much better than is commonly believed. The supply of providers has kept pace with the number of mothers entering the workforce, and costs remain relatively modest. Yet most families place a relatively low value on high-quality child care, and are unwilling to pay more for better care. Blau sees this lack of demand—rather than the market's inadequate supply—as the cause of the nation's child care dilemma. The Child Care Problem also faults government welfare policies—which treat child care subsidies mainly as a means to increase employment of mothers, but set no standards regarding the quality of child care their subsidies can purchase.

    Blau trains an economic lens on research by child psychologists, evaluating the evidence that the day care environment has a genuine impact on early development. The failure of families and government to place a priority on improving such critical conditions for their children provides a compelling reason to advocate change. The Child Care Problem concludes with a balanced proposal for reform. Blau outlines a systematic effort to provide families of all incomes with the information they need to make more prudent decisions. And he suggests specific revisions to welfare policy, including both an allowance to defray the expenses of families with children, and a child care voucher that is worth more when used for higher quality care.

    The Child Care Problem provides a straightforward evaluation of the many contradictory claims about the problems with child care, and lays out a reasoned blueprint for reform which will help guide both social scientists and non-academics alike toward improving the quality of child care in this country. (author abstract)

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