Child care for low income families a community landscape approach
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Child Care for Low Income Families: A Community Landscape Approach. Susan Kontos Jim Elicker Demetra Evangelou Community Childcare Research Project (CCCRP) Department of Child Development and Family Studies Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 47907-1269 USA

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Child Care for Low Income Families: A Community Landscape Approach

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Child care for low income families a community landscape approach

Child Care for Low Income Families:A Community Landscape Approach

Susan Kontos Jim Elicker Demetra Evangelou

Community Childcare Research Project (CCCRP)

Department of Child Development and Family Studies

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN 47907-1269

USA

Research funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


Abstract

Abstract

Indiana is a state where a high proportion of child care programs are exempt from licensing and in which many child care spending decisions are made at the county level. The goal of the proposed research is to describe how communities vary in the funding and provision of child care services to low income families, to investigate how these community variations affect the quality of care received by children from low income families and relate these factors to children’s developmental outcomes. The research employs an integrated design, using existing data, qualitative data, and quantitative data to describe and compare the “child care landscapes” in four diverse Indiana communities, identifying the community level variables that are most strongly associated with the type and quality of care selected by working poor families.

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


Research questions

Research Questions

  • Types of child care settings low income working poor families use?

  • Problems in finding and maintaining child care arrangements?

  • Flexibility in the child care arrangements and in employment conditions?

Community Variations

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


Project overview

Project Overview

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


Population

Population

Working poor families

Eligibility criteria:

  • Families that earn $35,000 or less/year

  • Training/in school/working

  • Not receiving TANF (welfare

    Common characteristics:

  • Single mother/absent father

  • Very young mothers

  • Multiple children

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


Phase i purpose

Phase I: Purpose

  • Describe the difficulties experienced by low income working poor families in finding and maintaining child care for their children

  • Understand the process by which families find and maintain reliable, affordable and acceptable in quality child care

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


Phase i methodology

Phase I: Methodology

  • Child Care Expert Key Informant Interviews

    • Semi structured phone interviews

  • Parent Focus Groups

    • Semi structured face to face interviews

  • State Government Data

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


Findings important issues

Parents

Locating Child Care

Flexible hours

Quality of services

Financial resources

Ideal situations

Community role

Experts

Rising demand

Alternative forms of care

Subsidies

Provider training

Parent education

Findings: Important Issues

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


Locating child care

Locating Child Care

  • “Try to keep my kids at home, you know under my wings” (parent in Allen Co.)

  • There is a need and it will continue to grow statewide, funding does not meet demand (child care expert in Marion Co.)

  • “People who work there they make it hard for you” (parent in Lake Co.)

  • The demand is growing but the resources are not growing as fast, it will be similar in the future for low income families (child care expert in Allen Co.)

  • Look around the neighborhood, make appointments, internet (parent in Marion Co.)

  • “a lot of people look for providers among their friends and family members”(child care experts in St. Joseph Co.)

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


Need for flexibility

Need for Flexibility

  • “They don’t care what your excuse is..they have no sympathy for people with kids” (parent in Allen Co.)

  • “..more infant-toddler care, many working poor have infants because they are young and just starting (child care expert in Marion Co.)

  • “..so it would be nice sometime to know that ok it’s Tuesday and my kids can be there and I am going to do grocery shopping” (parent in Marion Co.)

  • “It was so inflexible that it was impossible to work the three to eleven shift” (parent in Lake Co.)

  • “Child care centers should be available you know for working parents during the day and also students in the evening” (parent in St. Joseph Co.)

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


Child care system challenges

Child Care System Challenges

  • “The vicious circle that goes” (parent in Allen Co.)

  • “we have been losing skilled workforce because of child care issues over the past 5-10 years, small industry developing in more rural counties buses people in and out” (child care expert in Allen Co.)

  • “I don’t like that sometimes a lot of teachers are coming and going…get some good teachers and pay them a little more so they can stay.” (parent in Marion Co.)

  • “Indiana needs to tie licensing to funding, link education and licensing and public money” (child care expert in Lake Co.)

  • “I did not want her in a home day care because she basically when the kids go there they watch cartoons and that’s what they did all day long” (parent in St. Joseph Co.)

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


Financial challenges

Financial Challenges

  • “Child care is expensive, my daughter is $180 a week…if it wasn’t for the voucher agent I wouldn’t have been able to pay for it.” (parent in Allen Co.)

  • “families I work with in this income range, they struggle because they are trying to find jobs and child care is not affordable. (child care expert in St. Joseph Co.)

  • “You know it is impossible at $7.85 an hour” (parent in Lake Co.)

  • Free flow of voucher money “underground economics” (child acre expert in Lake Co.

  • “look at us we are all single mothers, we all work 40/50 hours a week just to pay the rent….I don’t know what I would have done” (parent in Marion Co.)

  • “If I make anything more than what I make, they’ll pull my child care” (parent in St. Joseph Co.)

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


What would be ideal

What would be ideal?

  • “An ideal child care would be affordable and you know that your child is watched like a hawk every second” (parent in Allen Co.)

  • The mentoring program is also very good and from the pass the quality program, they [providers] get money every time they move [to higher training level] (child care expert in Allen Co.)

  • “Trust, trusting relationship with your kids, dependable, pick them up, drop them off and it just really trusting somebody” (parent in Lake Co.)

  • “You can drop them off whenever you want to” (parent in Marion Co.)

  • “the R&R is very supportive, it is pushing parents to understand quality and a lot of providers are choosing to become accredited” (child care expert in Allen Co.)

  • “Longer hours, come to my home” (parent in St. Joseph Co.)

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


The role of the community

The Role of the Community

  • “Affordable and closer to work places” (parent in Allen Co.)

  • This community is unique in it’s awareness of the issues. It is quite universal, the universities, the chamber of commerce, the work force development office, universal awareness”(child care expert in St. Joseph Co.)

  • “If you qualify for this program and send our child to day care so you can go to work” (parent in Marion Co.)

  • “People that are working and going to school and trying to do the right thing should get the extra help” (parent in St. Joseph Co.)

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


Implications

Implications

NAEYC Conference, New York City November 20-23, 2002


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