The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) serves dual goals of promoting low-income parents’ employment, education, and training, and supporting parents’ use of high quality child care and education. While changes in CCDF policies have aimed to improve the accessibility and functionality of CCDF subsidies for all eligible low-income families, utilization among Hispanic families, who represent the highest growing proportion of income poor families, remains low. Our study explores the ways in which the state-level child care policy context may differentially affect utilization among Hispanic families and contribute to racial/ethnic disparities in program utilization. We use the child care accommodation model and administrative exclusion to offer an expanded conceptual framework. We consider how policies and administrative practices may interact with demographic and community characteristics common among low-income Hispanic families and impose differential learning, psychological, and compliance costs for accessing government assistance programs such as CCDF. Our analysis of the 13 states in which over 80% of the low-income Hispanic child population resides, identifies policies around eligibility, documentation requirements, receipt prioritization, and the online user experience that vary across states and may serve to either facilitate or constrain access to a child care subsidy. Implications for the design of child care policies to equitably support economic and child well-being for all eligible families are discussed.
- Child care subsidies
- Social policy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science