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Child Care Assistance for College Students with Children: An Opportunity for Change in Washington State

October 1, 2017

Publicly funded child care assistance helps many low-income parents afford child care while earning a postsecondary credential that can lead to long-lasting economic security. States have flexibility in setting eligibility requirements for receiving subsidies funded by the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program (Adams et al. 2014; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2016). Compared with other states, Washington imposes unusually strict requirements, including work requirements and degree limitations, for parents in job training and education programs who wish to receive child care assistance (Eckerson et al. 2016). Changes to Washington State's eligibility rules for child care assistance receipt would help parents attain credentials that lead to stable, high-quality jobs with family-sustaining wages. Increasing postsecondary attainment among low-income parents could also reduce poverty over the long term, reduce reliance on public benefit programs, help employers meet the demand for skilled workers, and strengthen the state's economy.