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Patterns and Growth of Child Care Voucher Use by Families Connected with Cash Assistance in Illinois and Maryland

Piecyk, Jessica; Collins, Ann; Kreader, J. Lee

This report examines the use of child care vouchers in January of 1997 and 1998 by children from Illinois and Maryland families who were current or former recipients of cash assistance. It is the second publication from the Child Care Research Partnership at the National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health. Patterns of types of care used by families connected to cash assistance in the two states were very different. In Illinois, care by a child’s relative was the most common and in-home care was the second most common. In Maryland, center care was the most common and family child care was the next most common. Each state’s pattern of types of care used by families previously on cash assistance was quite similar to its pattern for families currently on cash assistance. Ages of children using vouchers were very similar in the two states. In both, approximately one-quarter were infants and toddlers (under age three), one third were preschoolers (ages 3–5), and two-fifths were school-age children (6–12). In both states, families with three or more children were more likely to use relative and in-home care than other types of care. In both states, infants and toddlers were the age group most likely to use family child care; preschoolers were the age group most likely to use center care; and school-age children the group most likely to use relative and in-home care. Numbers of former TANF children using vouchers grew significantly in both states between January 1997 and January 1998, while numbers of current TANF children using vouchers remained steady. In both states, approximately half the children using vouchers in January 1997 did not use them one year later. Growth rates in the use of different types of child care varied in the two states. In Illinois, family child care experienced the greatest percentage growth between January 1997 and January 1998. In Maryland, relative and in-home care grew the most during that year. In each state, however, the form of care which experienced the greatest growth in use still remained the form of care least used in January 1998. Change in the age distribution of children using vouchers was very similar in the two states between January 1997 and January 1998. In both states, the largest growth occurred in the school-age 10–12 population, followed closely by the infant-and-toddler population.

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National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University

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National Center for Children in Poverty
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February 26, 2019