Unfinished Agenda: Child Care for Low-Income Families Since 1996 - Implications for Federal and State Policy

Publication Date: March 2002

Publisher: Center for Law and Social Policy

Author(s): Mark H. Greenberg; Rachel Schumacher; Jennifer Mezey; Joan Lombardi

Research Area: Social conditions

Type: Report

Coverage: Illinois Texas Washington United States


States have used CCDF and TANF funds to invest in improvements to their child care programs' capac-
ity and quality. However, states have had to make difficult policy trade-offs in the areas of the accessibility, affordability, and quality of child care. Many families who could use child care assistance and benefit from such assistance remain unserved. Moreover, much remains to be done to improve the quality of child care and to assure that low-income children are provided with early education opportunities.

At the same time, the majority of states are now facing budget shortfalls and TANF caseload increases, which will require a reallocation of TANF funds that have been used for child care over the last five years. Therefore, additional federal funding and strong federal leadership are essential if states are to make continued progress in expanding access to child care for low-income families, improving the quality of child care, and ensuring early education opportunities for all children.

Supplementary files include a policy brief and state reports for Illinois, Texas and Washington.