ERIC Number: ED436275
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Education and Care: Early Childhood Programs and Services for Low-Income Families. United States General Accounting Office Report to Congressional Requesters.
Fagnoni, Cynthia M.
At the request of the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families, the General Accounting Office (GAO) examined programs and services funded at federal and state levels providing direct early childhood care and education for low-income children up to age 5 years. Also examined were state and local assessments of difficulties low-income parents face in obtaining child care, and collaborative efforts among child care and early childhood education (ECE) officials to address parents' difficulties. Data sources included a national survey of child care administrators and departments of education, and a survey of 537 child care resource and referral agencies. In addition, interviews were conducted with program officials at all levels and early childhood researchers. The major findings of the GAO study are as follows. In 1999, the federal government provided approximately $11 billion to fund early childhood care and education services, mostly targeted to low-income children. These services most often focused on education but also occasionally included meals, immunization referrals, parental support, and social service referrals. About 73 percent of funds were for Head Start and the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). Most states also fund early childhood programs, beyond the federal matching amount. Some types of care, such as infant and toddler care, are still difficult to obtain. Barriers to obtaining the types of care needed by low-income families included its high cost, unavailability, and inaccessibility to providers. Although collaboration among child care and ECE officials has had positive outcomes, it does not eliminate all gaps in care. Collaborative initiatives have been limited because of barriers such as differing eligibility requirements. (Three appendices include a description of the methodology and comments from the Department of Health and Human Services.) (KB)
Descriptors: Day Care, Early Childhood Education, Federal Government, Federal Programs, Infant Care, Low Income, Low Income Groups, National Surveys, Program Descriptions, State Programs
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013 (first copy, free; additional copies, $2 each). Tel: 202-512-6000; Fax: 202-512-6061; Web site:
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.