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Child care subsidies promote mothers' employment

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Briefing paper, IWPR publication #G714
Henry, Colleen; Werschkul, Misha and Rao, Manita
Publication Date: 
1 Oct 2003

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

Excerpts from paper

In the current debate over welfare reauthorization, the importance of child care assistance for low-income and working families cannot be overstated. This briefing paper explores the current status of government child care assistance, reviews research on the connections between child care assistance, mothers' labor force participation, and children's development, and offers policy recommendations for improving the quality and quantity of child care assistance.

Large numbers of eligible children are not being served by current child care assistance programs due to ongoing funding shortages. Child care assistance is important for the economic well being of low-income and single-parent families, and therefore this type of assistance should be increased in difficult economic times. Quality child care is critical for helping mothers attain and maintain employment and for promoting healthy childhood development.

Given the clear evidence of the importance of quality, affordable child care to the well being of families, sustaining child care assistance for all working families must be a top policy priority. This paper recommends that the provision of child care assistance to low income and working families be made a policy priority and that significant resources be committed to improving access to quality child care for all needy families.

Both parents and children, especially those in low-income and single parent families, suffer from inadequate investments in child care. Parents need affordable, dependable, and quality child care to secure and maintain successful employment and children need high-quality child care to grow up to be healthy, well-developed adults. Both federal and state governments need to make greater investments to make child care accessible and affordable for today's working families.