NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED504489
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Child-Care Provider Survey Reveals Cost Constrains Quality. Research Brief. Volume 96, Number 5
Public Policy Forum
A survey of 414 child care providers in southeastern Wisconsin reveals that cost as well as low wages and lack of benefits for workers can constrain providers from pursuing improvements to child-care quality. Of survey respondents, approximately half of whom are home-based and half center-based, 13% have at least three of five structural factors often associated with highest quality care (accreditation, highly qualified staff, paid staff training, use of curricula and achievement tests). However, more than three-quarters of the sample is neither accredited nor seeking accreditation. When asked why accreditation has not been pursued, most providers indicate that it is too expensive. Costs are also cited as a barrier to obtaining or providing additional training, while low wages and lack of benefits are the main reasons staff have chosen to leave their child care jobs. This lack of capacity to pursue quality improvements is relevant to the debate in Wisconsin regarding parent subsidies for child care. Currently, the state spends over $300 million per year in subsidies aimed at increasing access to child care for low-income families. Other than the requirement that the subsidies be used to purchase care from a licensed or certified provider, the monies are not tied to the quality of the provider. Recent attempts by the governor to make that connection via a quality rating system have not been supported by the legislature. Findings from a four-page, 33-question mailed survey indicate there may be other opportunities to develop public policy aimed at improving quality through increasing organizational capacity. Most providers say they rely on funds from the government, with a quarter of all providers reporting that public funds account for over 90% of their budgets. Even without a quality rating system, these funds could provide incentive for quality improvements, perhaps in the form of mini-grants for capital purchases, health care purchasing pools, or wage supplements, as have been implemented in other states. (Contains 5 charts and 10 tables.) [Additional funding for this report was provided by the Brico Fund, Buffet Early Childhood Fund, Dick Weiss Family Foundation, Faye McBeath Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation, and Rockwell Automation.]
Public Policy Forum. 633 West Wisconsin Avenue Suite 406, Milwaukee, WI 53203. Tel: 414-276-8240; Fax: 414-276-9962; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Joyce Foundation
Authoring Institution: Public Policy Forum
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin