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Scant Increases After Welfare Reform: Regulated Child Care Supply in Illinois and Maryland, 1996-1998

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

This report describes changes in the supply of regulated child care after the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 using Illinois and Maryland as examples. It particularly examines communities with the highest concentrations of lowincome families in these two states. This third publication from the Child Care Research Partnership at the National Center for Children in Poverty at the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University looks at differences within and between the states over time. Recognizing that child care supply responds to a complex economic system, the report uses administrative data to answer the following questions: 1) In Illinois and Maryland, how did the statewide supply of regulated child care—center and family care—change between June 1996 and June 1998? Illinois and Maryland saw only 6 percent growth in regulated child care slots per 1,000 children under age 13 during this two-year period. Slots per 1,000 children increased by just eight (from 146 to 154) in Illinois and 14 (from 231 to 245) in Maryland. All of the Maryland growth in capacity and most of the Illinois growth came in center care. The number of family child care providers declined slightly in Illinois and Maryland, although the number of slots grew modestly in Illinois and decreased a bit in Maryland. 2) How did the supply of regulated child care change at the community (zip code) level in each state, particularly in the communities most likely to be affected by welfare reform—those with high concentrations of low-income individuals? Illinois had a greater proportion of zip codes with high and very high concentrations of low-income people than Maryland. In 1996 and again in 1998, in both states, communities with the highest concentrations of low-income people had significantly fewer regulated slots per 1,000 children than communities with the lowest concentrations of low-income individuals. Generally, the areas with higher concentrations of low-income individuals in both states saw very little growth in child care supply. In both states, the greatest growth in child care capacity occurred in areas with lower concentrations of low-income people. In both states, center care increased in all income areas, but generally grew more in more affluent areas. In Illinois, the proportion of the child care supply from family child care was greater in areas with higher concentrations of lowincome people. In Maryland, family child care made up about the same proportion of the supply in all areas. 3) How did the number of Head Start and prekindergarten programs change in each state? Maryland had high growth in the number of Head Start and prekindergarten programs. Both states had greater growth in numbers of prekindergarten than Head Start programs. In both states, the percentage of centers offering prekindergarten programs grew between 1996 and 1998. In Maryland, the percentage of centers offering Head Start programs also grew slightly, while in Illinois this percentage declined slightly. 4) How did the number of regulated child care programs offering care during nontraditional hours change in the communities in each state? The percentages of centers and homes that offered care for extended hours scarcely increased in Maryland and did not increase in Illinois. In both states, larger percentages of centers were open for extended hours in areas with lower concentrations of low-income people. By contrast, in both states, larger percentages of child care homes offered care for extended hours in areas with higher concentrations of low-income people. 5) What portions of the net increase/decrease in capacity at the community level in each state were attributable to opening, closing, and ongoing (existing) providers? What portions of center and family child care slots were offered by new providers each year? Over the two-year period, the number of child care homes closing exceeded the number of homes opening in both states. While in both states most growth in slots was attributable to the opening of new centers rather than the expansion of existing centers, more than one-third of Maryland’s center care growth came in existing centers that increased capacity. In both Illinois and Maryland, the largest absolute numbers of slots lost from centers closing were in areas with very high concentrations of low-income people. Each year in Illinois, the proportion of family child care slots in new homes was greater than the proportion of center slots in new centers. In Maryland, the percentage of slots both in new centers and new homes increased substantially between June 1997 and June 1998.

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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