Though child care subsidies are an important work support, subsidy policies can make participation challenging. This policy brief summarizes a longer report on strategies to lower subsidy participation barriers in seven Midwestern states, and discusses their experiences and tradeoffs (i.e. staff workload, improper payments, and program costs). Strategies are in eight areas: linking subsidies to other social services; improving customer service practices; simplifying application processes; simplifying recertification requirements; simplifying reporting requirements; minimizing subsidy breaks; assisting parents with nontraditional work schedules; and assisting parents with language barriers. This brief identifies key themes and provides a guide to help policymakers better support families.
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