Child care assistance policies can affect the use of center-based care for children in low-income families

Danielle A. Crosby, Lisa Gennetian, Aletha C. Huston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article examines the effects of 13 experimental welfare and employment programs on single parents’ use of different types of child care for toddlers, preschool-age, and young school-age children. Policies designed to increase employment (e.g., earnings supplements and mandated participation) did so, and consequently increased parents’ use of nonmaternal child care. This study finds that only programs with policies designed to increase families’ access to paid child care affected the types of care used by families. Programs that offered more comprehensive, more efficient, or more generous child care assistance to families increased the use of center-based rather than home-based care for all age groups studied; although effects were most consistent for preschoolers. Such programs also increased the duration and stability of center care. Implications for family and child well-being are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-106
Number of pages21
JournalApplied Developmental Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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