Opportunities for HEW To Improve the Administration of Day Care Programs

HRD-78-81: Published: Mar 22, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 22, 1978.

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Federal day care expenditures amounted to $675 million in fiscal year 1977; about 78 percent of this amount, $529 million, was provided by title XX of the Social Security Act. A review of selected aspects of day care programs funded under title XX focused on: (1) the reasonableness of the federal staff-to-child ratios mandated for day care centers; (2) the adequacy of federal efforts to ensure that family day care homes provide suitable care; (3) the reasonableness of fees charged to income-eligible families; and (4) the type of care provided by day care centers and family homes.

The review noted that: (1) the developmental needs of most children could be met with standards requiring less staff than those mandated by interagency requirements; and (2) implementing current federal standards could increase the cost of providing day care and reduce the availability of day care centers for children receiving federally funded day care. In addition, methods used by states to compute staff-to-child ratios were inconsistent, family home day care was generally provided by persons with no formal training in child development, and some states did not provide employment-related day care for two-parent families. Graduated fee schedules are needed to help income-eligible families make an orderly transition from subsidized to nonsubsidized day care.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare should: (1) determine the minimum care needed to provide for the health, safety, and developmental needs of children and develop staff-to-child ratios appropriate for such care; (2) provide guidelines to ensure that the ratios are computed in a consistent manner; (3) determine the minimum training needed to provide family home caregivers with a basic understanding of a child's developmental needs and the minimum skills needed to use such knowledge; (4) incorporate these training requirements into interagency requirements; (5) encourage states to use graduated fee schedules that would accustom families to paying for the cost of day care; and (6) encourage states to adopt policies and practices that ensure that all two-parent families who qualify receive subsidized day care.

    Agency Affected:


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