Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy

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Evaluation of Child Care Voucher Eligibility Reassessment: Administrative Changes in Massachusetts

In October of 2013, ICYFP received a grant of nearly $1 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a four-year project to evaluate changes to the Massachusetts child care subsidy program for low-income working families, with a focus on families that face increased barriers to access, such as immigrant families. ICYFP will partner with Boston University and the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care to execute this evaluation with the goal of increasing locally-based research capacity to conduct analysis of child- and family-focused policies in Massachusetts. Through this collaborative research partnership, the project will use mixed methods to evaluate a recent administrative change that transitioned the location and responsibilities for child care voucher eligibility reassessment from regional Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) centers to contracted child care providers.

Enacted in 2012, these changes were intended to make the child care subsidy program more user-friendly and, in turn, to increase the stability of child care arrangements. The changes applied only to income-eligible families receiving vouchers who are not participating in the TANF or child welfare systems. “This child care subsidy project allows us to examine, on the ground, how policy can better improve access and stability of early childhood care,” says Principal Investigator and ICYFP Associate Director Pamela Joshi, PhD '01 MPP. Results of this study will help inform other states considering implementing similar administrative changes and help inform potential expansion to other Massachusetts care providers.

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