Child Care: States Have Undertaken A Variety of Quality Improvement Initiatives, but More Evaluations of Effectiveness Are Needed

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The demand for child care has increased dramatically in the past several decades as the number of mothers who work outside the home has grown. Welfare reform has further increased this demand. To support low-income parents moving into the workforce, welfare reform established the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). In fiscal year 2000, states spent $5.3 billion in CCDF funds to subsidize child care for low-income families. Out of concern for the quality of care that the CCDF funds, welfare reform legislation also required states ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. September 6, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The demand for child care has increased dramatically in the past several decades as the number of mothers who work outside the home has grown. Welfare reform has further increased this demand. To support low-income parents moving into the workforce, welfare reform established the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). In fiscal year 2000, states spent $5.3 billion in CCDF funds to subsidize child care for low-income families. Out of concern for the quality of care that the CCDF funds, welfare reform legislation also required states to set aside at least 4 percent of the total grant to improve the quality and availability of child care. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations provide examples of allowable activities, such as providing child care providers with financial incentives for meeting state and local standards, improving the compensation of child care staff, and offering resource and referral services. However, the regulations do not limit states' use of funds to these activities; rather, the fund's block grant structure allows states considerable flexibility in choosing appropriate quality and availability improvements to pursue. Using primarily the four percent quality set-aside, states reported undertaking a variety of child care quality improvement initiatives, such as training caregivers, raising the compensation of caregivers, referring parents to child care providers, and efforts to enhance the safety of child care facilities. Although few states have evaluated the effects of their quality improvement initiatives on children's development, some studies provide useful findings about them. The research on child care quality does not evaluate initiatives as actually implemented by states, but a few studies, using rigorous methods, show that some of the attributes of child care quality that these initiatives address, such as caregiver qualifications, affect children's social, emotional and cognitive development."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 6, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Child Care: States Have Undertaken A Variety of Quality Improvement Initiatives, but More Evaluations of Effectiveness Are Needed, report, September 6, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294574/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.