This report summarizes findings from a research study on the effects of expanded public pre-K funding on individual ECE providers. It focuses on public pre-K expansion in Illinois in 2007 under the Preschool for All Initiative. The initiative increased funding for half-day pre-K services and awarded funds annually through a competitive grant process. Almost any public or private ECE provider could apply, but providers had to “target” services for children in low-income or otherwise at-risk families. We uncovered two key findings in the study. First, Illinois’ pre-K expansion funds went to very few new providers. Among public pre-K grant recipients, 75% were already established providers, in operation for 3 years or more before they were awarded funding. Second, among established providers, public pre-K funds increased the odds that providers remained in business, but it did not expand overall capacity (i.e., no increase in the number of slots available). The results suggest that public pre-K funding mainly stabilized providers’ operations and prevented closures; it did not substantially increase the number of available providers or their capacity to enroll children. (author abstract)
Targeted public pre-k & the broader child care landscape in Illinois
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