The results of the Community Child Care Research Project provide data describing the child care experiences of low income working families in 4 urban communities in Indiana. Because the study participants were volunteers rather than randomly selected, conclusions drawn from these findings necessarily have limitations. Despite these limitations, the research results do represent the experiences of more than 300 low income working families, their children, and their child care providers. The results suggest a number of key issues that need further investigation by policy makers and researchers. Many children in this sample scored lower than established norms in areas of cognitive competence. The observed quality levels of all types of child care used by this sample of low income working families in four communities were low. Overall child care quality for infants and toddlers were especially low in all types of settings in all four communities. The significant correlations we found between child care quality and children’s abilities, even after controlling for maternal education and children’s age, suggest that efforts to improve child care quality could have an impact on children’s development. Parents as well as child care leaders pointed to the need for affordable and accessible quality child care that provides more flexibility for low income working families, to accommodate challenging work and school schedules, job training, and child illness.
child development, poverty, child care, employment
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