Child Care Quality: Does It Matter and Does It Need to be Improved? (Full Report). Footnotes

05/24/2000

1)  The authors gratefully thank the following for their contributions to this paper: Josephine Chung, Kim Pierce, Scott Scriver, and Elisabeth Boehnen for their research assistance and Dawn Duren, Jan Blakeslee, Elizabeth Evanson for their editorial and typing assistance.

2)  The NHES survey included an early childhood program participation component in its 1995 survey. Parents of 14,000 children from birth through third grade were asked about their use of a wide variety of childcare and early education arrangements. http://nces.ed.gov/nhes/

3)  According to several studies, low-income families use more of certain types of child care and less of others than do families with more income or more education (see Figure 6).

Figure 6. Main Child Care Arrangements of Low-Income Children under Age 5.

According to the study by the National Academy (Phillips, 1995) low-income families “are more likely to rely on relatives and less likely to rely on center-based arrangements. . . Grandparents are an especially prominent source of child care for low-income, preschool-age children: 17 percent are cared for mainly by grandparents; 29 percent get some care from a grandparent. The child care arrangements of low-income families also vary greatly by household type and parental employment status. . . Single employed mothers rely to a much greater extent on non-relative arrangements (notably family day care homes and centers) than do other types of low-income families. In addition, among low-income families, about 24 percent of children under age 5 are in more than one supplemental arrangement on a regular basis (Brayfield et al., 1993). Reliance on multiple arrangements varies, however, from 14 percent of low-income preschoolers with two parents to 31 percent of those in single-mother families and 45 percent of those in employed, single-mother families”(Phillips, 1995, Chapter 2).

Connelly and Kimmel (2000) use a merged sample from the 1992 and 1993 SIPP panels which include child care questions from June through December 1994. They examine the choice of child care of full-time vs. part-time employed mothers, married and single. Table 13 shows their prediction, by marital status, of the marginal effects of the included variables on the probability of choosing among the 3 modes of child care for single employed mothers. The first panel uses a single predicted price for child care and the second includes three predicted prices of care. For single mothers, the predicted conditional probability of full-time employment is a significant predictor of child care. As has been suggested by earlier research, single mothers who are working full-time are more likely to use center-based care. This also leads to the conclusion that as more mothers enter full-time employment after leaving welfare, the utilization of center-based care over other types of care will increase. The reported results also show that women with more education are more likely to use center-based care or home-based care and that women on AFDC who receive more dollars are somewhat more likely to use center-based care and less likely to use relative care. Somewhat surprisingly, single mothers with higher predicted wages appear more likely to use relative care or home-based care than center care. The authors explain this by hypothesizing that higher-wage jobs are more likely to be positions that require more flexibility than center care can provide in terms of pick-up and drop-off times and the care of sick children.

4)  The NAEYC accreditation criteria include guidelines for staff-child interaction, curriculum content, staff qualifications and training, group size and adult-child ratios, physical environment and safety, nutrition.

5)  The other variables included in the model are average hourly wages for teachers and aids; rent; cost of other supplies and services per child; indicators for whether a center is for-profit, serves infants, serves children with disabilities, has operated for less than two years; and geographic location.

6)  These estimates are expressed in current dollars. The original estimates in 1988 dollars are $4,500 and $207, respectively.

7)  The authors do control for centers that provide infant care, but cost structures would nevertheless be expected to differ, for example, in infant-care centers that do not provide care to 4- and 5-year-olds.

8)  The relationship between structural measures of quality and total variable costs are also tested, but there is no evidence of statistically significant relationships. The authors note that their index measure of quality may be a theoretically superior measure insofar as the structural characteristics capture only a portion of the “true” measure of quality. They argue that this is the case if the unobserved center quality characteristics are correlated with other independent variables.

9)  These estimates are expressed in current dollars. The original estimates in 1994 dollars are $300 and $18,000 respectively.

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