Research Report Nontraditional-Hour Child Care in Austin/Travis County
Insights from Interviews, Focus Groups, and Analyses of Supply and Demand
Dawn Dow, Diane Schilder, Cary Lou, Eve Mefferd, Peter Willenborg, Justin B. Doromal, Jonah Norwitt, Laura Wagner
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This report presents findings from interviews, focus groups, and analyses of survey and administrative data to describe nontraditional-hour (before 7:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m. during the traditional workweek and anytime on weekends) child care demand, supply, and preferences. Findings are based on analyses of data from the American Community Survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, Texas Workforce Commission administrative data, and analyses of data collected through interviews and focus groups with Austin/Travis County community leaders, employers, child care providers, and parents.

Key findings

  • The need for nontraditional hour-child care Child Care in Austin/Travis County is substantial and outstrips supply. Nearly one-third of children with working parents (or about 18,000 children) in Austin/Travis County have parents who work during nontraditional hours, but only about 2,000 regulated child care spaces are available during nontraditional hours.
  • The potential demand for nontraditional-hour child care is higher among groups facing structural barriers to opportunities. Children in working families with parents who are Black or Hispanic, are immigrants, have lower education levels, or are working and enrolled in school have higher potential demand for nontraditional-hour child care.
  • Some industries and job types are especially likely to employ nontraditional-hour workers. Nearly 70 percent of children in working families in Travis County (about 3,100) whose parents work in food service have parents who work nontraditional hours.
  • The potential demand for nontraditional-hour child care varies by period:
    • Survey data analyses show the highest need is the hour before and after the traditional-hour day and the weekend.
    • Austin/Travis County study participants also reported they needed nontraditional-hour care mostly immediately before and after traditional-hour care.
  • Supply of nontraditional-hour child care in Austin/Travis County is limited, and most regulated providers offering nontraditional-hour care are home-based providers.
  • Families engaged in the study reported their preferences for types of nontraditional-hour care varies by time frame.
  • Austin/Travis County study participants reported a range of consequences of inadequate supply of nontraditional-hour child care:
    • Many study participants reported lack of nontraditional-hour child care decreased families’ financial well-being and businesses’ ability to access talented employees.
  • None of the parents participating in the study reported using child care subsidies for nontraditional-hour child care.
  • To address the demand for nontraditional-hour child care, Austin/Travis County leaders, local workforce boards, state agencies responsible for child care, and the federal government can pilot a range of initiatives, prioritize exploring incentives that are sufficient for regulated providers to expand hours of care, and support unregulated providers in becoming licensed and participating in the subsidy system to offer nontraditional-hour child care.
Research Areas Children and youth Economic mobility and inequality Families Immigration Neighborhoods, cities, and metros Race and equity Social safety net State and local finance Workforce
Tags Alternative or nonstandard work arrangements Assistance for women and children Black/African American communities Child care Child care and early childhood education Child care and workers Child care subsidies Children's budget Early childhood education Employer engagement Employment and income data Families with low incomes Immigrant children, families, and communities Family and household data Immigrant access to the safety net Immigrant communities and racial equity Immigrants and the economy Immigrant communities demographics and trends Job markets and labor force Kids in context Labor force Latinx communities Mixed-status immigrant families Parenting Poverty Public and private investment Race, gender, class, and ethnicity Racial and ethnic disparities Racial inequities in employment Structural racism State programs, budgets Wages and economic mobility Workers in low-wage jobs Welfare and safety net programs Economic well-being
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population
Research Methods Qualitative data analysis Quantitative data analysis Data analysis
States Texas
Counties Travis County
Cities Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX
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