Effect of child care subsidies on price and quality of care for low -income families

Sudhersena Alalasundaram, Florida International University

Abstract

This dissertation examines the effect of regulations, resource and referral agencies, and subsidies on price and quality of care in child care centers. This research is based on a carefully developed conceptual framework that incorporates the factors affecting the demand and supply of child care. The first step in developing this framework is sketching out the structural equations. The structural equations help us understand the underlying behavior of individuals and firms making a decision. The exogenous variables are vector of attributes relating to family characteristics, child characteristics, regulations, subsidy, community characteristics and prices of inputs. Based on the structural equations, reduced form equations are estimated to find the effect of each of the exogenous variables on each of the endogenous variables. Reduced form equations help us answer public policy questions. The sample for this study is from the 1990 Profile of Child Care Settings (PCCS) data in which 2,089 center based programs were interviewed.^ Child/Staff Ratio (Group Level). Results indicate that among subsidies, only the state subsidy per child in poverty has a significant effect on the child/staff ratio at the group level. Presence of resource and referral agencies also increase the child/staff ratio at the group level. Also when the maximum center group size regulation for 25-36 months becomes more stringent, the child/staff ratio at the group level decreases.^ Child/Staff Ratio (Center Level). When the regulations for the maximum child/staff ratio for age groups 13-24 months and 37-60 months become lax, the child/staff ratio for the center increases. As the regulation for maximum group size for infants becomes stringent, the child/staff ratio decreases. An interesting finding is that as the regulations for maximum group size for age groups 13-24 months and 25-36 months become stringent, the child/staff ratio for the center increases. Another significant finding is that when a center is located in a rural area the child/staff ratio is significantly lower.^ Center Weighted Average Hourly Fees. Maximum group size regulations for age groups 25-36 months and 37-60 months have a negative effect on center hourly fee. Maximum child staff regulations for age groups 13-24 months and 37-60 months have a negative effect on center hourly fee. Maximum child staff regulations for age groups 0-12 months and 25-36 months have a positive effect on center hourly fee. Findings also indicate that the center average hourly price is lower when there is a resource and referral agency present. Cost adjusted prekindergarten funds and JOBS child care subsidies have a negative effect on average hourly fee. Cost adjusted social services block grant and state subsidy per child in poverty have a positive effect on the average hourly price. A major finding of this dissertation is the interaction of subsidy and regulatory variables.^ Another major finding is that child/staff ratio at the group level is lower when there is an interaction between geographic location and nature of center sponsorship. ^

Subject Area

Social Work|Political Science, Public Administration|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies|Sociology, Public and Social Welfare

Recommended Citation

Sudhersena Alalasundaram, "Effect of child care subsidies on price and quality of care for low -income families" (January 1, 1997). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI9726715.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI9726715

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