How Contextual Constraints Affect Low-Income Working Parents' Child Care Choices

Brief

How Contextual Constraints Affect Low-Income Working Parents' Child Care Choices

Abstract

A multiyear qualitative study describes how low-income parents view their supply of child care, how they learn about their options, and barriers to access. Common impediments include nonstandard schedules, inflexible employers, and unreliable transportation. Challenges are even more intense for immigrants, parents lacking English proficiency, and parents of infants and of children with special needs. Head Start can't enroll enough children to meet demand, and though many families qualify for child care assistance, CCDF spending is capped. Enhancing investment in these resources would help low-income working families get the higher quality and more stable care children need.

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