Bridging the Gap

Examining Child Care's Intersection with Postsecondary Education and Workforce Development

With the support of the Ford Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Urban Institute is undertaking a phased set of studies examining how child care intersects with postsecondary education and workforce development for low-income parents. We are looking at the systems, policies, and practices that affect access to child care for low-income, low-skilled parents seeking education and training.  Our work so far has helped lay a framework for a broader conversation about the child care needs of low-income parents who are seeking economic security for themselves and their families by improving their education and skills.  It falls into the four areas described below. Listed under each area are publications and projects to date. 

1) Exploring and documenting challenges

2) Supporting the development of effective policies

  • Overview of Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) state eligibility policies and services for families in education and training (Adams et al. 2014
  • Examination of the implications of the reauthorized CCDF for parents seeking education and training (Adams and Heller 2015)
  • Overview of the implications of new provisions in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) for families needing child care to participate (Spaulding 2015)
  • Overview of challenges and opportunities around supporting the child care and workforce development needs of TANF families (Hahn et al. 2016)

3) Supporting the development of effective practices

  • Presentation of four collaborations between workforce/postsecondary organizations and child care support organizations (Derrick-Mills, Adams, and Heller 2016)
  • Overview of programmatic strategies that can support low-income parents seeking education and training (Adams, Derrick-Mills, and Heller 2016; full report and policy brief)

4) Supporting collaboration and access to resources

  •  Online discussion among practitioners working to bridge the gap between child care and education and training (Derrick-Mills et al. 2016)
  • Summary of conference proceedings from “Bridging the Gap: A Strategic Dialogue.” April 29, 2016 (Spaulding 2016)

For more information, contact the project codirectors:

Gina Adams
Senior Fellow

Shayne Spaulding
Senior Research Associate