Child Care Resources

Resource Category Topic Type
After Great Recession, More Married Fathers Providing Child Care
The U.S. economy lost 8.7 million jobs between December 2007 and January 2010.1 Sixty-nine percent of the jobs lost during the recession were held by men, 2 and the employment rate of married fathers (whether working full or part time) with employed wives decreased from 92 percent in 2005 to 88 percent in 2011.3 The large job losses and persistently high unemployment from the Great Recession and its aftermath prompted families to adapt to financial hardship and reallocate fathers’ and mothers’ time spent in the labor force and in the home.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Employment, Family, Unemployment Publication
Child Care Costs Exceed 10 Percent of Family Income for One in Four Families
Access to quality, affordable child care is critical for American working families, and it is a major focus of efforts to bring about more family-friendly workplaces. In this brief, we analyze families’ child care expenses and identify, among families with young children (under age 6) who pay for child care, the share that are “cost burdened,” defined here as spending more than 10 percent of their gross income on child care. Using data from the 2012–2016 Current Population Survey, we present our findings by number of children; age of youngest child; parental characteristics; family income measures; and U.S. region, metropolitan status, and state. Unless otherwise noted, families include only those with children under age 6 who had any child care costs in the previous year.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Community Development Finance, Family Publication
Child Care Expenses Make Middle-Class Incomes Hard to Reach
Most Americans believe that through hard work and saving they can secure an economically sound, middle-class lifestyle.1 But for many working families, the high price of child care makes this goal extremely challenging.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Family Publication
Child Care Expenses Push Many Families Into Poverty
How often are low-income families pushed into poverty by their child care expenses? In this fact sheet, we use the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to assess the extent to which child care expenses are pushing families with young children into poverty. Nearly one-third (30.4 percent) of families with young children are poor. To fall under the SPM poverty line means that a family’s income would be less than $26,000 a year on average, with variations by family composition and geographic location. Among poor families with young children, 12.3 percent incur child care expenses according to our analyses of the SPM. For families earning this little income, child care expense can be a burden. Of those who pay for child care, nearly one in ten (9.4 percent) are poor (Figure 1). Roughly one third of these poor families are pushed into poverty by child care expenses. This represents an estimated 207,000 families.1 Among families with young children who pay for child care, those with three or more children, those headed by a single parent, those with black or Hispanic household heads, and those headed by someone with less than a high school degree or by someone who does not work full time are most often pushed into poverty by child care expenses. Notably, these are also the families that tend to have the highest rates of poverty.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Poverty Publication
Child Care Subsidies Critical for Low-Income Families Amid Rising Child Care Expenses
The high cost of child care is a barrier to employment among low-income families with young children. Child care subsidies are designed to support both parental employment and child development by lowering the cost of child care and making high-quality child care affordable to low-income families.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Poverty Publication
Data Snapshot: Poorer Working Families With Young Children Are Unlikely to Afford Child Care
Low-income families with working parents face significant burdens paying for child care, which can function as a barrier to work and often means parents must rely on child care arrangements that are less formal and less stable.1 Amid national concerns about the high cost of child care, it is important to keep this issue at the forefront. Given the especially high costs of care for very young children, this snapshot highlights the child care costs faced by families with a child under age 3. Figure 1 shows the share of families paying for child care (bottom sections) by their income level. As a family’s income-to-poverty ratio rises, they are more likely to pay for child care. Poorer families who do pay for child care are much more often paying over 7 percent of their income on child care, the current benchmark of affordability from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.2
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Family, Income Publication
Data Snapshot: Working Families with Young Children and No Out-of-Pocket Child Care Struggle Financially
Working families with young children face substantial barriers in accessing and affording quality child care. Figure 1 shows that among working families with a child under age 3, those who do not pay for child care are more likely to live in poor or low-income families than those who do pay for child care (61 percent versus 45 percent).
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Family Publication
Employment Rates Higher Among Rural Mothers Than Urban Mothers
As men's jobs in traditional rural industries, such as agriculture, natural resource extraction, and manufacturing disappear due to restructuring of rural labor markets, the survival of the family increasingly depends on women's waged labor. Rural mothers with children under age 6 have higher employment rates than their urban counterparts but have higher poverty rates, lower wages, and lower family income, placing rural mothers and their children in a more economically vulnerable situation than urban mothers.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Employment, Family, Rural, Urban, Women Publication
Hard Times Made Harder: Struggling Caregivers and Child Neglect
Poverty is only one of many challenges tied to a report of child neglect. The analysis in this brief finds that neglected children whose caregivers struggle with substance abuse and mental health problems are at significant risk for out-of-home placement. Risk factors for out-of-home placement for neglected children are discussed, as well as a multifaceted approach to services to prevent neglect and out-of-home placement.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Health, Poverty Publication
Long-Term Foster Care—Different Needs, Different Outcomes
This brief examines where foster children are living four years after removal from their homes and the characteristics of these children and their placements. Understanding whether child characteristics such as age or emotional or behavioral problems are associated with a longer stay in out-of-home care can help identify children who are least likely to find permanence and may benefit from specialized services. The authors conclude that children in long-term foster care suffer from behavioral and emotional problems at alarming rates. Better identifying and assisting children with, or at risk of developing such problems upon entry to foster care and throughout their out-of-home placement, may alleviate their needs and troubles and provide mechanisms for supporting them as they get older. The authors also discuss programs having a positive impact on former foster care youths and the need for more state and federal investment in these programs. Their findings suggest that it may be worthwhile for states to reconsider their policies for the sake of long-term success.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Family, Safety Net Publication
Low Income and Impoverished Families Pay Disproportionately More for Child Care
According to research based on the 2004 Survey of Income and Program Participation, working families with young children living in poverty pay 32 percent of their income on child care, nearly five times more than families living at more than 200 percent of the poverty level. This brief asks policy makers to consider allowing more subsidies to be available to those who could benefit most from them.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Family, Poverty, Safety Net Publication
Low Wages Prevalent In Direct Care and Child Care Workforce
The large-scale movement of women into the paid labor market has brought sweeping change into family life and also in who cares for the elderly and children. This brief studies workers in two low wage, predominantly female care-giving occupations plagued with high turnover direct care workers and child care workers. It provides a better understanding of how they fare when compared with other female workers and discusses factors that contribute to their continued employment.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Employment, Women Publication
Parental Substance Use in New Hampshire
Hidden in the shadows of New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic are the children who live with their parents’ addiction every day. They fall behind in school as the trouble at home starts to dominate their lives, they make the 911 calls, they are shuttled about to live with relatives or in foster care, and they face an uncertain future when their parents can no longer care for them.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Drugs, Rural, Substance Abuse, Urban Publication
Rural Families Choose Home-Based Child Care for their Preschool-Aged Children
This policy brief examines who is taking care of preschoolers of employed mothers in rural America. While most rural families choose home-based child care (such as relatives or informal nonrelated care providers), formal care (such as in day care centers) has positive benefits to a child's development. The brief recommends that programs are needed that either make formal care more affordable and accessible in rural communities, or that train home-based care providers to provide quality care.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Education, Family, Rural Publication
Working Families’ Access to Early Childhood Education
Although the Upper Valley has more than 200 licensed child care providers, the corresponding number of licensed slots is about 2,000 short of the estimated number of young children who likely need early care and education. Early childhood is a critical developmental period, and access to early childhood education is essential not only for learning but also as a necessary support for parents who work. While policymakers and practitioners recognize the importance and necessity of high-quality early education, its availability and affordability remain elusive for many families. The East Coast in particular has high child care costs, and child care consumes a large share of family income.1
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Employment, Family Publication