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Working Paper Number CARRA-WP-2017-06
Rachel M. Shattuck


This study investigates whether low-income young children’s experience of Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)-subsidized childcare is associated with a lower subsequent likelihood of being held back in grades K-12. High-quality childcare has been shown to improve low-income children’s school readiness. However, no previous study has examined the link specifically between subsidized care and grade retention. I do so here by matching information on children from CCDF administrative records to later observations of the same children in the American Community Survey (ACS). I use logistic regression to compare the likelihood of grade retention between CCDF-recipient children and non-recipient children who also appear in the ACS in the years 2008-2014 (N=2,284,857). I find strong evidence for an association between CCDF-subsidized care and lower risk of grade retention, especially among non-Hispanic Black children and Hispanic children. I also find evidence that receiving CCDF-subsidized center-based care in particular is associated with a lower risk of being held back than CCDF-subsidized family daycare, babysitter care, or relative care, again with the largest apparent benefit to non-Hispanic Black children and Hispanic children.

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