How Effective Are Different Welfare-to-Work Approaches? Five-Year Adult and Child Impacts for Eleven Programs. Control Group Levels of Child Care

12/01/2001

Across the full follow-up period, the use of child care arrangements after leaving welfare because of earnings varied considerably for control group members in the client survey sample across the sites. As Table 10.1 shows, control group members in Atlanta and Riverside reported the lowest levels of child care use (17 to 24 percent), whereas control group members in Portland reported the highest level (44 percent). Receipt of transitional child care benefits also varied considerably among control group members across the sites, ranging from approximately 5 percent in Riverside to 31 percent in Portland. Among those control group members who used child care after leaving welfare because of earnings, receipt of transitional child care benefits ranged from 20 percent in Riverside to 70 percent in Portland.

Table 10.1
Impacts on Child Care Use

Site and Program

Sample Size Program Group Control Group Difference (Impact) Percentage Change (%) p-Value

Used child care after leaving AFDC because of earnings (%)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,054 35.8 24.3 11.5*** 47.4 0.00
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,123 29.9 24.3 5.7** 23.4 0.02
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,084 46.0 38.1 7.9*** 20.7 0.00
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,098 41.7 38.1 3.7 9.6 0.19
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,188 31.3 24.5 6.7*** 27.5 0.01
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 635 23.0 16.8 6.2** 37.1 0.05
Riverside Human Capital Development 750 24.1 16.8 7.3** 43.4 0.02
Portland 494 47.7 44.2 3.5 7.8 0.45

Received transitional child care benefits (%)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,053 19.2 9.2 10.0*** 109.0 0.00
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,120 13.0 9.2 3.9* 42.1 0.05
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,078 15.0 11.7 3.3 27.8 0.11
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,089 14.7 11.7 3.0 25.2 0.15
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,182 7.8 4.9 3.0** 60.3 0.03
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 632 6.5 3.0 3.4** 112.7 0.03
Riverside Human Capital Development 748 3.4 3.0 0.3 11.0 0.84
Portland 492 34.8 31.0 3.8 12.2 0.39

Used transitional child care benefits among those who used child care after leaving welfare because of earnings (%)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment   53.6 37.8 15.8 41.8  
Atlanta Human Capital Development   43.6 37.8 5.8 15.2  
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment   32.6 30.7 1.8 5.9  
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development   35.1 30.7 4.4 14.3  
Riverside Labor Force Attachment   25.1 20.0 5.1 25.8  
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills   28.1 18.1 10.0 55.1  
Riverside Human Capital Development   14.0 18.1 -4.1 -22.6  
Portland   72.9 70.0 2.9 4.1  

Used child care while employed (%)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,066 33.2 33.2 0.1 0.2 0.97
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,140 32.1 33.2 -1.1 -3.3 0.67
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,093 49.2 45.3 4.0 8.8 0.12
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,097 43.8 45.3 -1.5 -3.3 0.57
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,212 42.9 42.4 0.5 1.2 0.84
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 653 43.9 39.3 4.6 11.8 0.19
Riverside Human Capital Development 774 40.6 39.3 1.3 3.3 0.72
Portland 498 50.7 43.8 6.9* 15.8 0.09

Paid for child care out-of-pocket (%)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,061 18.5 19.4 -0.9 -4.6 0.69
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,140 20.2 19.4 0.8 4.1 0.72
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,087 29.9 29.5 0.4 1.2 0.89
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,093 28.5 29.5 -1.0 -3.4 0.70
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,210 26.4 26.8 -0.4 -1.6 0.86
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 653 26.7 22.2 4.5 20.4 0.16
Riverside Human Capital Development 774 24.1 22.2 1.9 8.7 0.55
Portland 496 32.3 28.1 4.3 15.2 0.32

Total monthly out-of-pocket cost of child care ($)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,061 29.5 32.1 -2.6 -8.2 0.59
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,140 34.6 32.1 2.4 7.5 0.62
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,087 70.3 68.7 1.5 2.2 0.85
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,093 65.5 68.7 -3.2 -4.7 0.68
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,210 62.0 61.8 0.2 0.4 0.97
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 653 59.1 48.6 10.5 21.5 0.28
Riverside Human Capital Development 774 61.5 48.6 12.9 26.4 0.19
Portland 496 113.5 62.1 51.4** 82.8 0.02
SOURCE:  Child Trends calculations from the Five-Year Client Survey.
NOTES:  See Appendix A.2.

Approximately one-third to one-half of control group members in the client survey sample reported using child care while employed, and one-fifth to one-third of control group members in this sample reported paying for child care out-of-pocket. Thus, of those control group members who used child care while employed, approximately 60 percent paid out-of-pocket for at least some of this child care (the proportion of those who paid out-of-pocket for care divided by the proportion of those who reported using child care while employed).

The wide cross-site variation in take-up of transitional child care benefits may be related to a number of things including whether, or to what extent, families were informed of these benefits and/or encouraged to use them, bureaucratic hurdles in applying for and maintaining benefits, variation in preferences or need for child care, and/or variation in coverage of certain types of care.(20) Yet a majority of control group families who were using child care for purposes of employment had out-of- pocket expenses for care. These findings point to the potential importance of active outreach in informing families of the child care benefits for which they are eligible and suggest that child care expenses may play a role in overall family income for many families, counteracting some of the benefits of earnings.