Reports and Briefs
Charts and Graphics
American Almanac
UNCENSORED
Journal of Children & Poverty
PovertyHistory.org

Reports and Briefs

Little Room to Play: How Changes to City Child-Care Policies Reduce Opportunities for Working Families

But child care is far more than a work support for parents. Quality child care promotes favorable educational, social, and behavioral outcomes for children, particularly those living in poverty.(ix) A study of low-income three- and four-year-olds found that those who participated in high-quality early-education programs graduated from high school at higher rates (77%, compared with 60% of nonparticipants), were more likely to be employed (76%, as opposed to 62%), and had higher median annual earnings ($20,800 versus $15,300) at age 40 (Table 1).(x)

Table 1
Source: Lawrence J. Schweinhart, et al., Lifetime Effects: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study  Through Age 40 (Ypsilanti: High/Scope Press, 2005)

 Working Families Hardest Hit by Cuts

Traditionally, 90% of all child-care subsidies have gone to families earning less than 135% of the federal poverty level, or $25,016 for a family of three, even though subsidies are authorized to support families earning more.(xi) However, in recent years there has been a shift in the distribution of these benefits among the 90%. The proportion of subsidies given to PA recipients is now more than half (57%) of all subsidies — compared with about one-third (37%) in 2002—despite an overall decline in the city’s PA rolls.(xii) Conversely, subsidies to low-income working families have declined, from 64% in 2002 to only 37% in 2012 (Figure 2).(xiii) Policy makers should be concerned about this shift. To reduce services to working families not currently on public assistance is counterproductive to the goal of keeping parents employed. In fact, some families may come to believe that it would be more beneficial for them to go on public assistance, through which they would receive child-care subsidies automatically. With working families today facing a 40,000-family waiting list for subsidized care, such a choice is quite conceivable.(xiv)

 Figure 2

*Capacity for Fiscal Year 2012 is through January 2012.

Note: Low-income working families earn wages placing them between 100% and 200% of the federal poverty level and typically are not eligible for PA. One-third (33%) of ACS child-care subsidies go to school-age children (five to twelve years in age) for after-school care. The remaining two-thirds (67%) are for children under the age of five.

Sources: New York City Independent Budget Office, City’s Subsidized Child Care System Faces Rising Costs, Shrinking Funds, 2010; City of New York, Mayor’s Management Report Fiscal 2011; New York City Administration for Children’s Services, ACS Monthly Flash Indicators Report, January 2011; New York City Administration for Children’s Services, EarlyLearn Request for Proposals, May 2011

 


(ix)Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness, Profiles of Risk: Child Care, April 2012: 1.

(x)Steven Barnett, “Long-term Effects of Early Childhood Programs on Cognitive and School Outcomes,” The Future of Children 5, no. 3 (1995): 25–50; Lawrence J. Schweinhart, et al., Lifetime Effects: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40 (Ypsilanti: High/Scope Press, 2005).

(xi)Center for Children’s Initiatives, CCI Primer 2011: Key Facts about Early Care and Education in New York City (2011): 31; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Register 76, no. 13 (January 20, 2011): 3637–8.

(xii)The number of cash-assistance recipients dropped by 69.4% from March 1995 to April 2012, from 1,160,593 to 355,053. Independent Budget Office, City’s Subsidized Child Care System Faces Rising Costs, Shrinking Funds, 2010: 8; Administration for Children’s Services, Monthly Flash Indicators Report, January 2012; New York City Human Resources Administration, Cash Assistance Recipients in NYC 1955–2012.

(xiii)Independent Budget Office, City’s Subsidized Child Care System Faces Rising Costs, Shrinking Funds (2010): 8; Administration for Children’s Services, Monthly Flash Indicators Report, January 2012.

(xiv)Center for an Urban Future, Subsidizing Care, Supporting Work, 2011.


A Tale of Two Students: Homelessness in New York City Public Schools
7/2014

A Hand Still Raised: How New York City's Homeless Students Fit into Charter Schools
2/2013

One Degree of Separation: Education, Sex, and Family Planning among New York City's Homeless Mothers
10/2012


Number of ACS Child-Care Subsidies

Annual Family Income and Co-payment Levels for Subsidized Child Care

The Impact of High-quality Early Education on Low-income Children

Visit Our Other Sites: Quick Links:  

44 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10003
(212) 358-8086

E-mail ICPH | www.ICPHusa.org