Childcare, child care subsidy, social safety net, TANF, quality of child care, low-income families


This paper presents a focus group study of perceptions of cash assistance participants in Cuyahoga County, Ohio and the San Fernando Valley in California regarding childcare subsidy use, choices of care, and perceptions of quality. TANF participants discuss experiences in the subsidy system and indicate needs and preferences for childcare. Advocates, policy makers, and parents recognize the need for suitable childcare so that TANF recipients can go to work. However, discussants' comments demonstrate one result of a changing, but not yet changed, social safety net. The authors explore strategies to address participants' concerns-childcare systems that neither function as promised, nor offer quality of care that enhances child development and is safe and comforting for children.

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