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Supporting Parents through Head Start-Child Care Center Partnerships

IJED, Vol. 9 No. 3, (2007)

Partnerships between child care centers and Head Start can meet the increased child care needs of low-income parents that resulted from the welfare reform in 1996 and improve children’s school readiness by providing full-day, full-year, and high quality child care services. They can also provide comprehensive services for low-income parents such as job training classes and employment referral services that will enhance parents’ productivity and ease job searches. Using data collected from parents in Ohio (N=1,605), we estimate the probability of a parent selecting a child care center partnered with Head Start based on several parent characteristics. We find that parents in job training programs, in school, searching for a job, and working long hours are more likely to choose partnership centers. Next, we examine what types of family comprehensive services are offered through Head Start and child care partnerships. We find that parents of children in partnership centers are more likely to receive information about employment enhancement services than parents of children in un-partnered centers. Moreover, the spillover effects of employment enhancement services suggest that the benefits of such services extend to a larger population. These Head Start -child care center partnership services help low-income families become self-sufficient, a goal that cannot be achieved through child care subsidies alone. Not only do low-income working parents benefit, but communities and the wider economy as well.

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