Child & Family Policy Lab
Subsidized Child Care in Georgia
What are the recent trends in access to subsidized child care using Georgia’s CAPS program?
Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program is a child care subsidy program administered by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). The program is funded by the federal Child Care and Development Fund and a state match. It provides subsidies to families experiencing low incomes or other defined vulnerabilities to make child care more affordable and increase parents’ ability to work or seek education and training. Children 12 years old or younger are eligible (with exceptions for some children between 13 and 17).
In this report, we use weekly scholarship-level data from January 2014 to December 2017 to study trends in scholarships over time. The number of children who had active CAPS program scholarships in Georgia fell from approximately 65,000 in January 2014 to 47,000 in December 2017. The average age of children who were receiving CAPS scholarships increased from 4.9 to 5.7 years. The types of care that families used varied over the course of the year, with families using more before- and after-school care during school months and more all-day care during summer months. Families with children younger than age five predominantly used all-day child care, while families with school-aged children were more likely to use before- and after-school care. Nearly half of children who attended before- and after-school care in 2017 had received CAPS for three or more prior years. The average assessed (i.e., required) fees participating families paid for their children’s care declined from 2014 to 2017. Between January 2014 and December 2017, Georgia’s CAPS program made child care more affordable for families. It also reduced the month-to-month variation in families’ child care costs—prompted by changes among different types of care—that families faced.
To read more, please download the report below.