Providing children with high quality early learning and development opportunities in the first years of their lives can have lasting consequences for their health and well-being throughout childhood and into adolescence and adulthood. Research has shown that when children face adversity in their early years, policies and programs that provide children with high quality care and early education can improve outcomes later in life. HHS strives to increase young children’s access to high quality care, promote positive health and development, boost school readiness, and support overall well-being for young children and their families.
Two major HHS programs aim to provide children with access to high quality care and early education opportunities. The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) provides subsidies to working families with young children to help with the costs of child care. The CCDF program aims to promote family economic self-sufficiency, as well as provide children with access to safe, high-quality child care. In Fiscal Year 2013 CCDF served over 1.4 million children. The Head Start program, which includes Early Head Start and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, provides high-quality early education and comprehensive services to low-income children ages 0 to 5 and their families, as well as pregnant women. Head Start serves over 1 million low-income children and their families.
ASPE works in close collaboration with HHS offices and other agencies to conduct research and policy analysis that informs these and other early childhood programs and policies. ASPE conducts analysis on a range of important and timely early childhood policy issues and topics, such as paid family leave, parental employment, children experiencing homelessness, infant and early childhood mental health, prevention of preschool expulsion, home visiting, parenting/co-parenting and fatherhood, the early care and education workforce, the cost and price of early care and education, and the early education experiences of dual language learners.
Challenges in Providing Substance Use Disorder Treatment to Child Welfare Clients in Rural Communities
This brief summarizes the challenges involved in serving rural child welfare-involved families with substance use issues. We highlight differences between rural and non-rural areas and discuss strategies that could help alleviate difficulties in addressing child welfare cases in rural communities. Key findings include:
This factsheet provides descriptive information on child care eligibility and receipt. Of the 13.3 million children eligible for child care subsidies under federal rules, 15 percent received subsidies. Of the 8.5 million children eligible for child care subsidies under state rules, 24 percent received subsidies. Poorer children were more likely to receive subsidies than less poor children. Younger children (ages 1-5) were more likely to receive subsidies than older children.
This is the second of two ASPE briefs about a qualitative study of lower-income mothers' attachment to work around childbirth and the role of state paid family leave (PFL) programs. The mothers, especially those with the fewest family resources, described PFL as supporting their return to employment, providing them with subsidized time to prepare for work and allowing some mothers to take more leave than they could have afforded without PFL. Other mothers said it kept them from quitting work altogether.
This is the first of two briefs about a qualitative study examining lower-income mothers' attachment to work around the time of childbirth and the role of state paid family leave (PFL) programs in supporting their return to employment. Seventy-five mothers who used PFL participated in the study. Over two-thirds returned to work, citing their need for income, desire for financial independence, preference for combining work with caregiving, and supportive workplace practices.
Printer Friendly Version in PDF Format (5 PDF pages) ABSTRACT This Issue Brief represents the finding of a white paper prepared by RTI under funding from ASPE. The analysis included a programs scan of policy initiatives in 21 states and individual interviews with academics, federal experts, state officials and individual providers.
Julie Seibert, PhD, Holly Stockdale, MA, Rose Feinberg, MA, Erin Dobbins, MA, Elysha Theis, BA, and Sarita L. Karon, PhD RTI International Printer Friendly Version in PDF Format (55 PDF pages)
This Issue Brief represents the finding of a white paper prepared by RTI under funding from ASPE. The analysis included a programs scan of policy initiatives in 21 states and individual interviews with academics, federal experts, state officials and individual providers.
Many women facing opioid addiction are either pregnant or caring for children and face a number of social, structural and economic barrier in accessing treatment. In recent years, clinicians and policymakers have become increasingly interested in supporting substance use treatment approaches that provide comprehensive services to pregnant and parenting women and their family members and recognized the women’s role as primary caregivers.
This factsheet provides descriptive information on child care eligibility and receipt. Of the 13.6 million children eligible for child care subsidies under federal rules, 15 percent received subsidies. Of the 8.4 million children eligible for child care subsidies under state rules, 25 percent received subsidies. Poorer children were more likely to receive subsidies than less poor children. Younger children (ages 1-5) were more likely to receive subsidies than older children.
Child Support Cooperation Requirements in Child Care Subsidy Programs and SNAP: Key Policy Considerations
States have the option to require recipients of child care subsidies and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to cooperate with child support agencies seeking to establish paternity and support orders; and to enforce child support obligations as a condition of eligibility. This brief, and one-page summary, examines the current policy landscape and provides context for policy conversations. Infographic
This Brief provides an examination of the amount of time that low-income families from 32 states received child care subsidies. These families began receiving government-funded child care subsidies during Fiscal Year 2012, prior to the reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act. In general, families utilized child care subsidy programs for short time periods, usually less than a year. However, families that received child care subsidies for a period frequently returned to the subsidy programs after they exited and received subsidies multiple times.
Head Start Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness: Trends, Characteristics, and Program Services
This research brief presents findings on the characteristics of Head Start children and families that experienced homelessness, as well as services Head Start programs reported providing to these vulnerable children and families, using data from the 2009 cohort of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey. Trends in the percentages of Head Start children and families experiencing homelessness from Head Start program year 2006-2007 to 2015-2016 are also presented, using data from the Head Start Program Information Report.
This factsheet provides descriptive information on child care eligibility and receipt. Of the 13.4 million children eligible for child care subsidies under federal rules, 16 percent received subsidies. Of the 8.3 million children eligible for child care subsidies under state rules, 26 percent received subsidies. Poorer children were more likely to receive subsidies than less poor children. Younger children (ages 1-5) were more likely to receive subsidies than older children.
New analysis of data from HUD's Family Options Study shows that twenty months after staying in an emergency shelter with their families, young children scored worse in pre-reading skills and had higher rates of overall behavior problems and early development delays compared to national norms for children their age. However, they displayed only small disadvantages in pre-math skills, and for some types of behavioral challenges their rates were similar to national norms.
Exploring the Relationship Between Paid Family Leave and the Well-being of Low-Income Families: Lessons from California
This research report presents the results of a mixed-methods study that drew on California state administrative data and findings from focus groups with low-income working mothers to 1) explore how lower-income parents interact with California's PFL program and 2) better understand the relationship between PFL and key elements of family well-being, especially for economically disadvantaged families.
A Policy to Provide Child Care Access for All Working Families: Effects on Mothers’ Employment and Caseload
This brief describes the effects of an alternative policy that would expand child care by providing subsidies for children ages three and younger in working families with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. The alternative policy would also increase the average annual subsidy per child age three or younger from $5,562 (FY2013) to $10,000, permitting families to purchase higher quality child care. We assumed a participation rate of 45 percent (up from 15 percent in 2012).
Factors associated with reduced expulsion in center-based early learning settings: Preliminary findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)
This brief provides new national estimates of recent early childhood expulsion rates in a range of center-based early learning settings using data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), indicating how characteristics of early care and education (ECE) centers relate to the likelihood that children are denied services due to behavior. The analysis describes how access to comprehensive services, support for professional development for ECE teachers and staff, funding source (e.g., Head Start, public pre-K, private, etc.), and program sponsorship (e.g., non-profit, gover
Income and Employment Fluctuations among Low-Income Working Families and Their Implications for Child Care Subsidy Policy
This brief explores income and employment patterns of working families, potentially eligible for Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) subsidies, over a 12-month period. Analysis of the 2008 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) waves 8 to 11 (early 2011 to early 2012) followed a group of families who were assumed to be “eligible” for CCDF subsidies because they were working and their household income fell below 85 percent of the state median income. The analysis followed this group across a 12-month period, observing their work and income status at four, eight,
This study used a rigorous difference-in-differences approach to examine the effect of child care policy on women's labor force participation. The study examined the effects of state-level spending, copayment rates, and income eligibility thresholds on the probability of employment and labor force participation by potentially eligible women (defined as women below 85% of state median income and with children ages 0 through 12).
Research generally has demonstrated the employment benefits of providing child care. However, much of the existing research on child care policies on parental labor force participation was conducted prior to the early 2000s or in non-U.S. contexts. This brief provides policymakers and researchers with new evidence from a study of the effects of child care subsidy policies in the United States on maternal labor force participation and employment.
Report to the Congress Presenting HHS's Response to the Recommendations of the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
This statutorily mandated report to Congress responds for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the many recommendations contained in the March 2016 final report of the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. Overall, HHS heartily embraces the Commission's vision for a robust response to families in crisis: one that intervenes early to prevent maltreatment and strengthen families whenever possible, but also protects children aggressively as needed.
Differential Response and the Safety of Children Reported to Child Protective Services: A Tale of Six States
Differential response (DR) is an increasingly common model for how child protective services agencies address reports of child maltreatment. Differential response systems seek to be less adversarial than traditional child protective services by separating incoming referrals into two (or more) tracks. Families with low to moderate risk and safety threats (variously defined) are encouraged to accept and use prevention services, an approach referred to as alternative response (AR).
Children Living Apart from Their Parents: Highlights from the National Survey of Children in Nonparental Care
This paper highlights the characteristics and experiences of the approximately 2.3 million U.S. children who live with neither biological nor adoptive parents, but instead live with relatives or non-relatives in foster care or less formal arrangements outside the foster care system. It presents an overview of descriptive results from the 2013 National Survey of Children in Nonparental Care (NSCNC), the first large-scale, population-based, nationally-representative survey to focus on issues specific to this group of children.
Learning about Infant and Toddler Early Education Services (LITES): Summarizing the Research and Gaps on Compelling Models
“The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funded Mathematica Policy Research and its partners to conduct the Learning About Infant and Toddler Early Education Services (LITES) project. LITES aimed to identify program models to support infant and toddler early learning in out-of-home early care and education settings to inform future research, policy, and program directions at the federal, state, and local levels.