Parent Experiences with State Child Care Subsidy Systems and Their Perceptions of Choice and Quality in Care Selected

Helen Raikes, Julia Torquati, Cixin Wang, Brinn Shjegstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Research Findings: This study investigated parents' experiences using Child Care and Development Fund and other state-dispersed child care subsidies, reasons for choosing their current child care program, and perceptions of the quality of child care received from their current program. A telephone survey of 659 parents receiving child care subsidies in 4 states showed that parents gave generally positive ratings to accessibility and reliability of subsidies, reported that child care subsidies were a substantial benefit to them, and gave low ratings to limitations of child care subsidies. However, 40% of parents reported that they had experienced a disruption in eligibility for subsidy. Parent experiences with child care subsidies varied by state. Parents in the sample identified 4 criteria used to choose their child care program: (a) characteristics of the provider, (b) convenience, (c) whether the provider was licensed or accredited, and (d) whether a personal relationship existed with the provider. Selection criteria varied by type of care parents were using. The majority of the participants rated the overall quality of their child care as perfect or excellent (73.6%), but ratings of quality also varied by the type of child care parents were using. Practice or Policy: Implications for child care subsidy program administration and for improving the quality of child care purchased by public subsidies in the context of parental choice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-582
Number of pages25
JournalEarly Education and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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