The Effects of Quality Information and Financial Assistance on Child Care Choices and Employment Outcomes of Low-Income Families in Minnesota
This study builds on an existing evaluation of a pilot quality rating system (QRS) by examining how low-income families in Minnesota make child care decisions. It explores how families navigate the complex array of child care settings, financial resources, and information about available child care, and how the implementation of the QRS affects these processes. The project tracks individuals in QRS and non-QRS communities for two years to gather data for descriptive analyses and the testing of econometric models. The following broad groups of research questions are addressed: (1) What factors influence awareness of and use of QRS information in choice of child care setting? What are the characteristics of families using the QRS? How does the QRS affect choice of child care?; (2) Does the QRS affect the use of subsidies? Does the type of setting chosen affect the use of subsidies? Which characteristics of the family are associated with use of CCAP subsidies?; (3) How do subsidies affect choice of child care? Do subsidies change the type of child care chosen? Do subsidies change the quality of child care chosen? Is the use of subsidies associated with more stable child care arrangements over time?; and (4) What factors influence child care stability, reliability, and employment outcomes? Findings are expected to inform the pilot QRS and to provide information to state and federal policymakers about how factors such as the type and quality of care chosen are related to the stability of child care and, in turn, to low-income parents' employment and family outcomes.
Administration for Children and Families/OPRE Projects
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Minnesota Child Care Choices: Families' awareness and use of a pilot quality rating and improvement system