Performance Improvement 2006. Assessing the Quality of Child Care Using Longitudinal, Administrative Data: What Can It Tell Us and How Can It Be Used?


Using administrative data from 1996 through 2001, this report assessed how child care quality changed as a result of welfare reform and concurrent social, political, and economic changes. The researchers compared the group care of subsidized children, children in poverty neighborhoods, and children who were neither subsidized nor in poverty neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and found that providers serving Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) subsidized children reported smaller proportions of their staff with low levels of education (high school or less); were more likely to report use of a curriculum than other providers; were more likely to be accredited; and more likely to be profit-seeking firms than other providers. CCDF providers more frequently violated minimum-standards regulations (e.g., instances of child-staff ratios in excess of minimum-standards requirements); had more complaints filed against them than other providers; including other providers in poverty neighborhoods; and had a larger proportion of unfilled (vacant) child care slots than other providers. A single composite indicator of quality developed from quality measures was able to explain 80 percent of the total variation in a broad array of quality measures. The researchers suggest that this composite indicator could be used to: (1) Develop a quality rating system based on multiple quality measures rather than on a single quality measure (e.g., accreditation), as is commonly done; (2) Identify groups of low-quality providers administrators might target for quality-enhancing interventions; or (3) Evaluate the impact of quality interventions.

PIC ID: 8218; Agency Sponsor: ACF-ACYF, Administration on Children, Youth and Families; Federal Contact: Martinez-Beck, Ivelisse, 202-690-7885; Performer: National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA

View full report


"pi_2006.pdf" (pdf, 1.39Mb)

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®