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Childcare as an Investment in the Future

CHILDCARE AS AN INVESTMENT FOR THE FUTURE

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Improving Access to Quality Child Care, Investing in Future Generations


childcare imageMaintaining access to stable, affordable, high quality child care is imperative to sustaining employment and economic security, especially for single mothers, as the poverty rate for female-headed families with children is over 40%. Additionally, research shows that investing in child care has the potential to create jobs for low-income women, allow parents to seek employment outside the home, raise household income, stimulate local economies, boost tax revenues, and improve child development. But child care is often prohibitively expensive for low-income families and many families that need assistance are not eligible for subsidies.

That National Council for Research on Women undertook two case studies in the states of Georgia (with Chris J. Cuomo, Ph.D., and the Institute for Women's Studies at the University of Georgia) and Tennessee (with Lynda M. Sagrestano, Ph.D., and the Center for Research on Women at the University of Memphis) to assess the impact of stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on child care access for low-income communities. This report briefly reviews the ARRA Child Care Assistance Program and other government sponsored child care subsidies in Tennessee, and provides a snapshot of child care in the Memphis community.

Nationally, two billion dollars of ARRA funds were designated for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), a federal program independently administered by states. In Tennessee, all $42 million of stimulus funds received through the CCDBG were designated for the child care scholarship fund, and eligibility requirements for child care assistance were broadened temporarily to allow more families to benefit from subsidies. Over the course of the program, 55,900 Tennessee families received childcare scholarship funds.

The following recommendations, based on surveys, focus groups, interviews, and economic analyses, are made for improving access to affordable, quality child care and for making programs more effective:

Key Recommendations

Eligibility

  • Raise income caps to allow more low-income working parents to receive benefits.
  • Reduce work hour requirement so that part-time employment is sufficient to qualify for child care subsidies.
  • Allow eligibility for people on job training and for all students pursuing a post-secondary education.
  • Provide child care subsidies that are not linked to TANF.

Access

  • Improve communication about the application process and provide web-based and in-person help.
  • Make provisions for children with special needs.
  • Ensure safe transportation for children to and from care providers.
  • Develop guidelines for pricing so that centers that receive assistance to improve quality do not raise their fees, effectively pricing out the lowest income consumers.

Quality

  • Develop national guidelines on minimum safety requirements.
  • Invest in the training of the child care workforce.
  • Identify and disseminate best practices for improving the quality of child care.

Reform

  • Restructure how funds are disbursed.
  • Evaluate how many additional families are in need of child care subsidies.
  • Implement institutional reforms and rule changes so that low-income families are not prevented from accessing affordable, quality care.

 

This project was funded by the Ms. Foundation with additional funding support
from The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, allowing CROW to expand
the scope of the local data collection.

Read the full Memphis Childcare report here
 
childcare report cover

Caring for Our Nation's Future: The Impact of ARRA Funding on Access to Childcare

caring for our nations future

The National Council for Research on Women, in collaboration with the Center for Research on Women at the University of Memphis, and the Institute for Women's Studies at the University of Georgia, released the ground-breaking report Caring for Our Nation's Future: The impact of ARRA Funding on Access to Childcare.

This report, based on research conducted in Georgia and Tennessee, focuses on ways to improve access to affordable, quality child care, and ways to improve the quality of child care programs nation wide.

Read the full National report, or the National report executive summary.


CROW Director Helps Release Child Care Report on Capitol Hill

lynda capitol hill

In June 2012 CROW Director, Dr. Lynda Sagrestano, in collaboartion with Dr Chris Cuomo from the University of Georgia, and Dr. Shyama Venkateswar from the National Council for Research on Women, released a new report on childcare, Caring for Our Nation's Future: The Impact of ARRA Funding on Access to Childcare, at a briefing on Capitol Hill.

Members of Congress attended the release to express their support for initiatives aimed at supporting women and families. Members included Tennessee's own Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), along with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI).

Caring for Our Nation's Future is a joint effort of the National Council for Research on Women, the Center for Research on Women at the University of Memphis, and the Institute for Women's Studies at the University of Georgia. Funding was provided by the Ms. Foundation, with local funding support from the Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis.


Childcare Report Collaborator, Chris Cuomo, from the University of Georgia, Interviewed by the
Athens Banner-Herald  

Like Tennessee, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds impacted low income families in Georgia.

Click here to read what collaborating partner, Chris Cuomo from the University of Georgia, had to say about the ways it impacted her state.


For more information on this project contact project coordinator Ace Madjlesi at 678-2642 or fmdjlesi@memphis.edu

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Last Updated: 2/24/14