Child Care:

Government Funding Sources, Coordination, and Service Availability

HRD-90-26BR: Published: Oct 13, 1989. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed government funding for child care, funding coordination, and child care availability, focusing on child care in Michigan and Ohio on a statewide basis and in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and Washtenaw County, Michigan, on a county-wide basis.

GAO found that: (1) federal funding for child care exceeded $6.6 billion for fiscal year 1988, with services provided through 46 programs, and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, Social Services Block Grant, Head Start Program, and Child Care Food Program provided 89 percent of the funding; (2) no single federal agency was responsible for tracking or guiding all federal child care efforts; (3) federal child care support to low-income families has consistently declined as a proportion of the total federal child care budget; (4) both Michigan and Ohio had various state- and county-level administrative coordination arrangements for child care services; (5) information on the adequacy of the supply of child care was limited due to the amount of privately provided care, nonregulated care, and the number of parents who did not work because they could not find or afford care; (6) both counties reported shortages in infant care and care of children in part-time educational programs, school-age children, sick children, and handicapped children; (7) the federal government assumed a very limited role in assuring high-quality child care; and (8) state regulation of child care varied widely, with some states requiring only registration for certain types of programs.

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