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Child care in poor communities: Early learning effects of type, quality and stability

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NBER working paper no. 9954
Loeb, Susanna; Fuller, Bruce; Kagan, Sharon Lynn; Carrol, Bidemi and Carroll, Judith
Publication Date: 
1 Sep 2003

Available in print (see SOURCE) and online for download.


Young children in poor communities are spending more hours in non-parental care due to policy reforms and expansion of early childhood programs. Studies show positive effects of high-quality center-based care on children's cognitive growth. Yet we know little about the effects of center care typically available in poor communities or the effects of home-based care. Using a sample of children age 12 to 42 months when their mothers entered welfare-to-work programs, this paper finds positive cognitive effects for children in center care. Children also display stronger cognitive growth when caregivers are more sensitive and responsive, and stronger social development when providers have education beyond high school. Children in family child care homes show more behavioral problems but no cognitive differences.