Child Care Subsidy Duration and Caseload Dynamics: A Multi-State Examination. Spell Beginnings

10/01/2014

Figure 1 displays the number of families from all 35 states that began subsidy use either for their first time, or after at least a one-month break in usage. Some families are counted multiple times if they had a break in subsidy use and returned. As shown in the figure, the data reveal that families are more likely to begin new episodes of child care subsidy use during particular months of the year than in other months and these patterns appear to be related to the school year calendar. For example, new spell beginnings are at their highest frequency during the months of August, September, and October. December appears to be a month when spell beginnings are less frequent. These patterns vary somewhat across states, although the majority of states display at least some seasonal patterns, often showing peak months in either August or September. For example, Figure 2 presents the spell beginnings of Wisconsin and Kansas, which have higher than normal entries during the late summer months.11

Families frequently return to the subsidy programs after periods of non-use. This issue is explored in Table 2. Column two of the table presents the percentage of families that were either entering the subsidy programs for the first time, or were reentering after at least 36 months of non-receipt. As shown in the table, a large percentage of the entering families in all 35 states had previously received subsidies. These percentages ranged from a low of 41 percent in the District of Columbia to a high of 66 percent in New Jersey.12 When the families from the 35 states were analyzed together, about 43 percent of them entered the programs without any recent subsidy receipt and about 57 percent of them were returning within 36 months of a previous period of participation.

A second pattern that is apparent in Table 2 is the large percentage of families that began new subsidy spells after only a single month of non-receipt following a previous period of participation. For example, of the families that began new spells in the 35 states (see column 3), about 17 percent of them were returning to the programs after one month of non-receipt. In some cases, these spells may be administrative reporting errors that reflect occasional omitting or misreporting of family records. In other cases, however, the patterns likely reflect families that did not receive subsidies for a variety of reasons.

Figure 1. Number of Families in the 35 States Beginning New Spells of Subsidy Receipt by Month of Entry

Figure 1. Number of Families in the 35 States Beginning New Spells of Subsidy Receipt by Month of Entry

Figure 2. Number of Families in Wisconsin and Kansas Beginning New Spells of Subsidy Receipt by Month of Entry

Figure 2. Number of Families in Wisconsin and Kansas Beginning New Spells of Subsidy Receipt by Month of Entry

 

Table 2. Percentage of Families Beginning New Spells of Child Care Subsidy Use that Had Previously Received Subsidies by State: FY 2007 to FY 2010

State No Recent Usage 1 Month of Non-Receipt 2 to 5 Months of Non-Receipt 6 to 11 Months of Non-Receipt 12 to 23 Months of Non-Receipt 24 to 35 Months of Non-Receipt
All 35 States 43% 17% 19% 10% 8% 4%
Alabama 41% 29% 16% 7% 5% 2%
Arizona 46% 21% 17% 8% 6% 3%
Colorado 43% 20% 19% 8% 6% 3%
Delaware 35% 20% 21% 12% 8% 3%
District of Columbia 59% 6% 13% 10% 8% 4%
Georgia 56% 10% 15% 8% 8% 4%
Hawaii 48% 19% 17% 7% 6% 3%
Idaho 42% 19% 21% 8% 7% 4%
Illinois 35% 20% 21% 11% 9% 4%
Kansas 48% 7% 22% 11% 8% 4%
Kentucky 48% 17% 16% 9% 8% 4%
Louisiana 51% 10% 16% 10% 9% 4%
Maine 57% 15% 13% 7% 5% 3%
Maryland 49% 14% 18% 9% 7% 3%
Michigan 39% 13% 21% 12% 10% 4%
Missouri 39% 19% 20% 10% 8% 4%
Montana 48% 16% 17% 9% 7% 3%
Nebraska 38% 21% 22% 10% 7% 3%
Nevada 40% 27% 19% 6% 5% 2%
New Hampshire 46% 16% 19% 10% 7% 3%
New Jersey 34% 26% 24% 8% 5% 2%
New Mexico 46% 12% 20% 11% 8% 4%
North Dakota 38% 22% 21% 10% 7% 4%
Ohio 37% 21% 21% 10% 8% 3%
Oklahoma 41% 16% 20% 11% 8% 4%
Rhode Island 42% 12% 20% 12% 10% 4%
South Carolina 55% 11% 16% 9% 7% 3%
South Dakota 50% 14% 18% 9% 6% 3%
Tennessee 46% 12% 20% 11% 8% 4%
Texas 55% 11% 14% 9% 8% 4%
Utah 47% 13% 17% 10% 8% 3%
Vermont 44% 17% 18% 10% 7% 3%
West Virginia 40% 20% 20% 9% 7% 3%
Wisconsin 38% 15% 23% 12% 8% 4%
Wyoming 41% 19% 20% 9% 7% 3%

11 The data for the remaining 33 states can be found in Appendix Table 1.

12 The percentages in this sentence were calculated by subtracting the values in column two from 100 percent.

View full report

Preview
Download

"rpt_ChildCareSubsidy.pdf" (pdf, 436.15Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®