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Early Care & Education

About Early Care & Education

Early care and education programs are crucial to a thriving economy, not only because they allow parents to work, but because the child care sector is large and purchases numerous goods and services. New economic development strategies toward enhancing child care access can improve child care financing and the business infrastructure associated with the child care sector.Additionally, significant investments in children’s well-being in the early years has enormous long-terms payoffs. Yet, quality early care and education supports in the U.S. are expensive and difficult to find, especially when compared with other developed nations.

Student parents make up 26 percent of community college students and many have young children, yet IWPR's research shows that child care available only meets a tiny fraction of the need. Improving child care access is not only about improving access to sources of care and education outside the home, but also requires increasing parents' ability to care for their own children. Significant investments in children's well-being in the early years has enormous long-term payoffs. IWPR has worked both national and state levels—in California, Kansas, Illinois, and the District of Columbia—to estimate the costs of implementing early care and education expanses. IWPR also developed a "how-to" manual demonstrating how other states can adapt the model to serve their specific policy needs.

IWPR’s work on Early Care and Education addresses:

  • Strategies for improving access to quality, affordable child care;
  • The need to integrate a range of family supports into a comprehensive early childhood system;
  • The economic development benefits of  strengthening the early childhood sector;
  • System-building approaches, and costs and benefits involved with early childhood expansions; and,
  • The importance of improving job quality among early childhood educators.

Resources

Education and Training, IWPR

Poverty, IWPR

Visit our external resources page for links to more information on this topic.

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Latest Reports from IWPR

Spring/Summer 2013 Newsletter-25th Anniversary Edition
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (August 2013)

This special 25th Anniversary edition of the newsletter presents a review of IWPR's policy research since our founding in 1987.

 

Financing Child Care for College Student Success
by Todd Boressoff (June 2013)

This toolkit provides information about a wide range of funding sources for campus-based child care. It is intended as a resource for early care and education programs, institutions of higher learning, advocates, and policymakers. In addition to descriptions of each resource, it contains over a hundred links to websites of relevant organizations. It is designed as a guide for those seeking to provide quality child care for colleges and university students, considering how to strengthen and expand existing services, or hoping to build networks of support for students with children and other parents on campus.

#G719, Toolkit, 44 pages
$10.00
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Tools for Student Parent Success: Varieties of Campus Child Care
by Todd Boressoff (March 2012)

This toolkit is the first in a series by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). It introduces the wide variety of child care services that exist at institutions of higher learning. Rather than an exhaustive study of campus child care programs, it is an introduction to possible options. It is for those seeking to provide quality child care at colleges or universities and for those considering how to expand or rethink existing services.

#C393, Toolkit, 19 pages
$10.00
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Improving Child Care Access to Promote Postsecondary Success Among Low-Income Parents
by Kevin Miller, Ph.D., Barbara Gault, Ph.D., and Abby Thorman, Ph.D. (March 2011)

This report examines the role of child care as a crucial support for parents who pursue postsecondary education.

#C378, Report, 54 pages
$10.00
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Better Health for Mothers and Children: Breastfeeding Accommodations under the Affordable Care Act
by Robert Drago, Ph.D., Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D., and Youngmin Yi (December 2010)

This study examines new workplace protections for nursing mothers under federal law. We report current patterns of breastfeeding, and provide the first estimates of coverage rates under the law, as well as the first projections of the likely effect of the new protections on increasing rates of breastfeeding in the United States. The research represents part of a broader body of work undertaken by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research on balancing work and family commitments. The research was made possible by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

#B292, Report, 28 pages
$10.00
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Meaningful Investments in Pre-K: Estimating the Per-Child Costs of Quality Programs
by Barbara Gault, Anne W. Mitchell, and Erica Williams with Judy Dey and Olga Sorokina (March 2008)

Policy makers around the country, seeing the far-reaching benefits of quality pre-kindergarten (pre-k) for three, four, and five-year-olds, are committing substantial resources to expanding these programs. They are beginning to recognize that public investments in early learning can be as important as those made in elementary education. Positive outcomes of pre-k investments are especially great when participating programs uphold high-quality standards, including high teacher-to-child ratios and small class sizes, and when they employ experienced, well-compensated teachers with good credentials.

#G718, Report, 44 pages
$10.00
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In Our Own Backyards: Local and State Strategies to Improve the Quality of Family Child Care
by Katie Hamm Barbara Gault, Ph.D. Avis Jones-DeWeever, Ph.D. (August 2005)

Th is report examines state and local policies and programs designed to improve the quality of family child care. For the purposes of this report, family child care is defi ned as a provider caring for two or more unrelated children in the provider’s home. In the United States, more than 1.4 million children are cared for by family child care providers. Th e quality of family child care, however, varies greatly. A number of states and communities have initiated promising eff orts to improve the quality of care delivered in family child care homes. Th is report documents local and state eff orts to improve family child care quality with two purposes in mind: fi rst, to aid policymakers, program administrators, and advocates in developing policies and programs that promote quality child care for children in family child care settings; and second, to contribute to the replication of successful programs and policies.

#G717, Report, 84 pages
$25.00
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Staying Employed: Trends in Medicaid, Child Care, and Head Start in Ohio
by Jon Honeck, Ph.D., and Vicky Lovell, Ph.D. (October 2004)

(Written collaboratively by Jon Honeck, Policy Matters Ohio Vicky Lovell, Institute for Women’s Policy Research) Over the past two and a half decades in Ohio, more women have entered the labor force, and families have increased their work hours. Yet, job quality has often declined: wages for most workers have been stagnant, health insurance provision by employers has decreased, and Ohio remains nearly 264,000 jobs below its peak employment. The poor performance of Ohio’s labor market coincided with the imposition of time limits for cash assistance under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. These broad trends mean that more women are paying for child care and health care while in low-wage jobs. This paper reviews changes in state child care and health care programs and discusses how such programs can help low-wage parents remain employed.

 

The Status of Early Care and Education in the States
by Erica Williams and Anne W. Mitchell (October 2004)

 

The Status of Early Care and Education in The States
by Erica Williams and Anne W. Mitchell (August 2004)

(Report written collaboratively by Erica Williams, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and Anne W. Mitchell, Early Childhood Policy Research.) Marked growth in the labor force participation of women in general, and of mothers specifi cally, has deepened the need for work and care supports for families. Early care and education has emerged as a critical resource to keep parents working and to provide much needed early care for young children.

 

The Status of Early Care and Education in New Mexico
by Erica Williams and Anne W. Mitchell (August 2004)

(Report written collaboratively by Erica Williams, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and Anne W. Mitchell, Early Childhood Policy Research.) Marked growth in the labor force participation of women in general, and of mothers specifi cally, has deepened the need for work and care supports for families. Early care and education has emerged as a critical resource to keep parents working and to provide much needed early care for young children.

#R263, Report, 32 pages
$15.00
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The Status of Early Care and Education in Wisconsin
by Jeannine Love, Erica Williams and Anne W. Mitchell (August 2004)

Marked growth in the labor force participation of women in general, and of mothers specifi cally, has deepened the need for work and care supports for families. Early care and education has emerged as a critical resource to keep parents working and to provide much needed early care for young children.

#R262, Report, 32 pages
$10.00
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Building a Stronger Child Care Workforce: A Review of Studies of the Effectiveness of Public Compensation
by Barbara Gault, Elizabeth Goergen, Feven Kiflu, and Heather Murphy (May 2004)

This Research-in-Brief summarizes Building a Stronger Child Care Workforce, a report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The report discusses the outcomes of seven programs to improve child care worker wages, education, and retention. Outcomes were assessed by reviewing findings from program evaluations. This review suggests that on the whole child care practitioners who participated in these programs saw improved income, education, and retention levels. There is also evidence that the programs increased participants’ morale and feelings of professionalism.

 

The Price of School Readiness: A Tool for Estimating the Cost of Universal Preschool in the States
by Stacie Carolyn Golin, PhD Anne W. Mitchell and Barbara Gault, PhD (February 2004)

Families and communities throughout the United States are embracing early childhood education as an important and beneficial experience for children. Policymakers are beginning to view children’s access to early education as a public good, and are debating ideas such as universal preschool—even in this environment of fiscal uncertainty. However, there is still a lack of knowledge about the cost of preschool programs that would facilitate quality service delivery and positive outcomes for children and families.

 

The Cost of Universal Access to Quality Preschool in Illinois
by Stacie Carolyn Golin Anne W. Mitchell Margery Wallen (February 2003)

Responding to research indicating the value of a good early childhood education program, Governor George H. Ryan of Illinois, in Spring 2001, convened the Task Force on Universal Access to Preschool made up of prominent representatives from government and the private sector. The task force's objective was to design a plan to ensure that all three- and four-year-old children in Illinois have access to high-quality early education. The task force was also instructed to include an estimate of the proposed plan's costs. The task force, coordinated by Margery Wallen, collaborated with the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) and with Anne Mitchell of Early Childhood Policy Research to estimate the costs of the proposed program, which was given the name "Illinois Preschool." This report provides those estimates.

 

Building a Stronger Child Care Workforce: A Review of Studies of the Effectiveness of Public Compensation Initiatives
by Jennifer Park-Jadotte, Ph.D. Stacie Carolyn Golin, Ph.D. Barbara Gault, Ph.D. (November 2002)

Child care providers are among the lowest paid workers in the United States. Inadequate compensation has led many qualified practitioners to leave the field for higher paying jobs, decreasing the quality of available care. At the same time, families continue to deal with the persistent problem of finding affordable high-quality child care at a time of growing need. Increasing awareness of this problem has prompted policymakers, advocates, and practitioners to help qualified staff earn higher wages and remain in their field. In this report, we review preliminary findings on the implementation and early effects of publicly supported compensation initiatives on the child care workforce.

#G711, Report, 83 pages
$25.00
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Education and Job Training Build Strong Families
by Deanna Lyter (March 2002)

Improving the home life of children begins with expanding the opportunities and skills of the parents. Through job training and education, parents are prepared for more stable and higher paying occupations that help them rise out of poverty.

#B238, 4 pages
$0.00
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The ABCs of Public Financing for Early Care and Education: A Research and Advocacy Resource Book
by Jennifer Johnson, Hedieh Rahmanou, April Shaw, Melissa Neuman, and Stacie Golin (January 2001)

This reference book is designed to provide researchers and advocates with tools to investigate issues related to early education and care financing in the United States. These materials can be used to explore various factors that contribute to the current shortage of high-quality early care and education programs. For example, the enclosed reviews of research will assist advocates, policymakers, and researchers in assessing local child care supply and demand.1 The included cost/estimate models provide examples of ways to estimate the need for and benefits of additional public investments in early care and education for children and working families.

 
Preview not available

Do Mothers Stay on the Job? What Employers Can Do to Increase Retention after Childbirth
by IWPR (March 1996)

Seventy percent of women who give birth return to work with the same employer within six months. This retnention rate could be higher, according to research by Jennifer Glass of the University of Iowa, which concludes that mothers need longer parenting leaves, flexible hours, and social supports in the workplace. Available by mail in limited quantities. E-mail iwpr [at] iwpr [dot] org to place an order.

 

Children and Families in the District of Columbia: Child Care Needs
by (May 1995)

Washington, D.C. is a city that is in transition. The District of Columbia's population has been declining for several decades. The diversity of the population, e.g., race/ ehnicity, living arrangements, geography has increased, however. The District's child population is a big part of the change. Whole the under age 18 population decreased, the number of births to D.C. residents increased. Child care in the nation's capital, like the nation in general, is essential. the increased labor force participation of mothers, increased poverty rates, and the increasing evidence of positive effects of preschool on poor children, has made understanding the demographics of children and their families very necessary.

 
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