Child Care in Poor Communities: Early Learning Effects of Type, Quality, and Stability

Susanna Loeb, Bruce Fuller, Sharon Lynn Kagan, Bidemi Carrol, Judith Carroll

NBER Working Paper No. 9954
Issued in September 2003
NBER Program(s):   ED   CH

Young children in poor communities are spending more hours in non-parental care due to policy reforms and expansion of early childhood programs. Studies show positive effects of high-quality center-based care on children's cognitive growth. Yet we know little about the effects of center care typically available in poor communities or the effects of home-based care. Using a sample of children age 12 to 42 months when their mothers entered welfare-to-work programs, this paper finds positive cognitive effects for children in center care. Children also display stronger cognitive growth when caregivers are more sensitive and responsive, and stronger social development when providers have education beyond high school. Children in family child care homes show more behavioral problems but no cognitive differences.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9954

Published: Loeb, Susanna Bruce Fuller, Sharon Lynn Kagan, and Bidemi Abioseh Carrol. “Child Care in Poor Communities: Early Learning Effects of Type, Quality and Stability." Child Development (January/February 2004).

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