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Targeted Childcare Programs

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PPGPortal > Home > Concept Dictionary > T, U, V > Targeted Childcare Programs
 
Targeted Childcare Programs

Government childcare programs and policies that are targeted at economically disadvantaged families

(Baker, Michael. Class Lecture. PPG 2012 Public Policy for Children. University of Toronto School of Public Policy and Governance.)

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There are several arguments that are made by those who contend that government resources in the area of childcare should be "targeted" toward economically disadvantaged families.

Proponents of a targeted approach to childcare argue that scarce government resources should be used to assist families who would like to enroll their children in childcare, but cannot afford to. A central premise of this argument is that wealthier families have sufficient resources to pay for childcare arrangements themselves, and that government funds should therefore be targeted at those whose economic circumstances would otherwise deny them access to quality childcare.

A further argument in support of a targeted approach to childcare is that existing research strongly suggests that children from poor families experience significantly greater positive effects from participation in quality childcare on social and cognitive development than children from wealthier families. Furthermore, there is much stronger evidence that the positive effects of childcare participation for poor children persist into adolescence and adulthood, whereas some research suggests that the positive effects of childcare participation for wealthier children tend to "fade out" over time.

Critics of a targeted approach argued instead for a "universal" approach, in which government subsidizes childcare arrangements for families across the income scale. These critics of targeting argue that "at-risk" children who would strongly benefit from quality childcare are found in all socio-economic groups and not just among the poor.  Some proponents of a universal approach to childcare also make an argument on political grounds, suggesting that universal programs which benefit more people are more likely to enjoy broad, sustained political support.
     
Targeted Childcare Programs

Government childcare programs and policies that are targeted at economically disadvantaged families

(Baker, Michael. Class Lecture. PPG 2012 Public Policy for Children. University of Toronto School of Public Policy and Governance.)

---------------------------------


There are several arguments that are made by those who contend that government resources in the area of childcare should be "targeted" toward economically disadvantaged families.

Proponents of a targeted approach to childcare argue that scarce government resources should be used to assist families who would like to enroll their children in childcare, but cannot afford to. A central premise of this argument is that wealthier families have sufficient resources to pay for childcare arrangements themselves, and that government funds should therefore be targeted at those whose economic circumstances would otherwise deny them access to quality childcare.

A further argument in support of a targeted approach to childcare is that existing research strongly suggests that children from poor families experience significantly greater positive effects from participation in quality childcare on social and cognitive development than children from wealthier families. Furthermore, there is much stronger evidence that the positive effects of childcare participation for poor children persist into adolescence and adulthood, whereas some research suggests that the positive effects of childcare participation for wealthier children tend to "fade out" over time.

Critics of a targeted approach argued instead for a "universal" approach, in which government subsidizes childcare arrangements for families across the income scale. These critics of targeting argue that "at-risk" children who would strongly benefit from quality childcare are found in all socio-economic groups and not just among the poor.  Some proponents of a universal approach to childcare also make an argument on political grounds, suggesting that universal programs which benefit more people are more likely to enjoy broad, sustained political support.

Approved for glossaryposting by Ben Eisen on January 27, 2011


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© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance