Performance Improvement 2005. Barriers to Subsidies: Reasons Why Low-income Families do Not Use Child CARE Subsidies


This study examined the reasons why eligible families do not use child care subsidies available to them. Data from focus groups provided qualitative information that was used to develop quantitative indicators to be measured in a telephone survey. The survey was conducted to learn about families’ experiences with the subsidy system and to understand the reasons why low-income, subsidy eligible, African American parents residing in a large metropolitan area, might not use subsidies. Major findings included the following: (1) Many parents believed that they either did not need or were not eligible to receive subsidies. (2) Families both accessing and not accessing subsidies were confused about subsidy regulations, although, overall, families using subsidies had a better understanding of subsidy regulation and procedures to access the subsidies. (3) Many eligible families avoided applying for subsidies because of hassles and restrictions, real or perceived, associated with accessing subsidies. (4) Family and personal variables influenced the likelihood of some families applying for, and obtaining, subsidies.

PIC ID: 8147; Agency Sponsor: ACF-ACYF, Administration on Children, Youth and Families; Federal Contact: Martinez-Beck, Ivelisse, 202-690-7885; Performer: Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

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