Access Series


Has Access to Quality Child Care Improved for Low-Income Working Families in Illinois?

Over the period 2011 to 2016, Illinois made substantial new investment in its early care and education system. This research series examines whether the availability of quality child care for low income working families – in particular, those eligible to receive the child care subsidy – increased during this period in two Illinois regions, Cook County and a 7-county region in Southwestern Illinois. This three-part series looks at whether access to quality child care improved for children under age 6, for infants and during non-traditional care hours.

For more materials, including a brief on key findings and a regional analysis, click on the links below.

Overall, we found improvement in the number of quality-designated slots for Cook County and Southwestern Illinois children birth-to-five programs that accept Illinois Child Care Assistance. 

Access Series Webinar
On October 29, 2019, Public Policy and Advocacy colleagues Teresa Ramos and Samir Tanna hosted an informative webinar that unpacked their findings and discussed the implications for early care and education policy.

Watch Recording
 


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HAS ACCESS TO QUALITY CHILD CARE INCREASED FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN UNDER AGE 6?

The findings in the report respond to the following questions:

  • How much full-time high-quality, subsidized child care has become available to meet the needs of subsidy-eligible families with a child under age 6?
  • What are the community-level variations in access and change in access to full-time high-quality child care for subsidy-eligible families with a child under age 6?
  • How did child care centers and child care homes compare in terms of change in supply between 2011 and 2016?
  • Is there evidence that Illinois and federal child care policy, and particularly Illinois’ efforts to improve the quality of child care, has had an impact on subsidy-eligible parents’ access to high-quality care?

HAS ACCESS TO QUALITY INFANT CARE INCREASED FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES?

This report examines changes to the supply of quality infant care, whether this care was affordable to the parents who participated in the child care subsidy program, the Illinois Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), and whether quality infant supply grew in the communities where subsidy-eligible families live.


HAS ACCESS TO QUALITY CHILD CARE DURING NONSTANDARD HOURS INCREASED FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES?

This brief analyzes the access that subsidy-eligible parents in the two Illinois study sites had to quality child care programs with early morning and evening schedules. Our focus is on child care supply rather than demand, and we conservatively selected earlier morning and later evening cut-off times for our definition of “nonstandard hours” of care: beginning before 7 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m. or later.