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Are higher subsidy payment rates and provider-friendly payment policies associated with child care quality?


This study examines associations between state-determined payment rates and policies and several quality indicators to inform CCDF quality improvement efforts. It is guided by three research questions: 1. How much do payment rates and policies vary across states? 2. How much variation is there in the quality of child care centers and homes serving subsidized children? 3. And the key analytical question: What is the association between payment rates and policies and the quality of child care providers serving subsidized children? Our analyses leverage policy variation within the system of subsidized care, capturing payment-quality dynamics in child care centers and homes. In doing so, we employ the most recent and comprehensive data available: the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE). Conducted in 2012, the NSECE provides a nationally representative picture of program and caregiver quality characteristics in centers and homes, including those serving children receiving subsidies, providing a very timely baseline view of quality before the CCDF reauthorization. We also draw on the CCDF Policies Database, a comprehensive database of CCDF policies covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the US territories and outlying areas. Our main analytic tools include quantitative description and multivariate regression analysis, which allow us to explore possible causal links between payment rates and policies and child care quality. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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