How stable are scholarship spells and childcare arrangements in Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program?
Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program provides scholarships for children in families with low incomes and in vulnerable circumstances to help them obtain high-quality childcare at a subsidized value. The scholarships are intended to subsidize childcare costs while parents/caregivers work or prepare themselves for work through school or training. The scholarships give families flexibility by allowing them to choose a care provider and type of care (subject to some restrictions). Stable childcare arrangements for families participating in the program are an important aspect of quality.
In this technical report, Rodrigo Aranda and David C. Ribar use 2015 to 2020 CAPS program records to investigate stability in the program by examining continuous, uninterrupted periods (i.e., spells) of children holding CAPS scholarships, receiving subsidized care from the same provider, and holding scholarships but not using them. We find that most CAPS scholarship spells are stable, with nearly two-thirds lasting six months or more, 30% lasting a year or more, and 15% lasting two years or more. We also find that care arrangements are relatively stable, with only about a third of children ever changing providers. However, many children take breaks from their providers—often when they continue to hold scholarships. Nearly two-thirds of children have spells where they hold a scholarship but do not use it. Most spells of non-use are short and last about three weeks.
Care arrangement spells tend to be shorter for older children and are stable across demographic characteristics, such as race and ethnicity. Many care arrangement spells end when families are required to renew their eligibility for CAPS services.
To read more, please download the policy brief and the technical report and its appendix below.