Such a program could expand existing prekindergarten programs to a full day and include after-school care

Such a program could expand existing prekindergarten programs to a full day and include after-school care

The results from both models are then combined to examine direct and indirect effects of quality changes on total variable costs

Another approach that could be combined with subsidies for very young children would be to provide universal coverage for child care (or coverage for children whose parents worked more than 20 hours per week) for pre-school-age children. These programs could be established for 3- and 4-year-olds through a combination of direct provision through a local school district, existing community-based programs, and vouchers that would be accepted by certified providers. Part of the costs of this care would be offset by eliminating tax credits and current government subsidies for 3- and 4-year-olds. States and local communities would decide on the details of the provision of care, and financing would be shared across levels of government. Part of a coordinated, high-quality child care system for toddlers also might include community- and school-based centers and family day care networks. Because of the necessary low child:adult ratios (and their attendant expense), part of a coordinated child care policy for infants might include vouchers that would allow a parent to stay home and care for the infant during the first year.

A related task involves determining the levels of investment necessary to achieve improved quality. Although this topic has not received the same level of attention in the literature as the overall relationship between quality of care and child outcomes, several studies consider the financial costs of increasing structural measures of quality. Though subject to limitations that affect the extent to which one may apply these findings to the current system of child care, this research provides useful information on the relationship between the quality of child care and cost.

The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO, 1990) report and Powell and Cosgrove’s (1992) summary of and addendum to this GAO research include estimated cost functions for the provision of child care as well as a model of the factors that affect wages of care providers. The modeled cost function allows the authors to examine the direct influences of input prices; center characteristics, including structural measures of quality; and geographical location on center total variable cost. This use of multiple regression analysis allows the authors to estimate the effect of changing such factors as the child-adult ratio on center total costs, after controlling for other relevant factors such as group size, location, and average education of providers. By also modeling the elements of wage determination, the authors capture the indirect effect of changes in child care characteristics on the wages of providers.

Data on child care centers from a 1989 GAO survey of 265 early childhood education centers accredited by the National Associate for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) were used in both studies. 4 The survey, administered to program directors via questionnaire, included questions of center characteristics, costs, value of in-kind donations received, staff characteristics and compensation. The survey includes several structural measures that allow the authors to estimate the costs associated with changing the following quality measures: the average number of children per teaching staff member; average number of children in groups of four-year-olds; average education of staff in years; average experience of staff in years; and the staff turnover rate. 5

As we suggested, analyses that shed light on the developmental benefits of child care characteristics for children is an important element of the answer to our question

The authors find statistically significant relationships between center installment loans ME total cost and structural measures of child care quality. For the adult-child ratio, they find that an improvement in the quality of care achieved by ple from 11:1 to 10:1, is associated with increased costs of roughly 4.5 percent. The authors note that the average center in their data, one with 50 children and an annual per child cost of $6,500, which reduces the child-to-staff ratio from 11:1 to 10:1, faces an increase in annual cost per child of $306. 6 A related measure, average group size, had a small but statistically insignificant effect on total costs.

Laisser un commentaire