Threatened Progress: U.S. in Danger of Losing Ground on Child Care for Low-Income Working Families


Publication Date: June 2003

Publisher: Center for Law and Social Policy

Author(s): Jennifer Mezey

Research Area: Social conditions

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Between 1996 and 2001, federal and state spending on child care tripled and the number of children served more than doubled. However, even during this period of growth and progress, the great majority of eligible children remained unserved. States used increased child care funding to address three goals: (1) meet new welfare work requirements, (2) increase the number of non-welfare families receiving care, and (3) improve the quality of care.

States are now in danger of losing ground on all threedue principally to frozen federal funding for child care, dwindling welfare reserves, and the continuing fiscal crises in the states. Even more ground will be lost if restrictive welfare requirements are enacted without sufficient child care funding. The extent to which states can even maintain current services will depend in large part on the willingness of Congress to provide increased federal child care funding.