Quality Disparities in Child Care for At-Risk Children: Comparing Head Start and Non-Head Start Settings

Marianne M. Hillemeier, Pennsylvania State University
Paul Morgan, Pennsylvania State University
George Farkas, University of California, Irvine
Steven Maczuga, Pennsylvania State University

This study describes quality of child care settings among children at elevated risk, examines differences in quality between Head Start and non-Head Start settings, and identifies factors associated with receiving higher-quality child care. Data were analyzed for 7,500 children aged 48 months in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, Birth Cohort. Child care quality was higher in Head Start centers compared to other centers, particularly among poor children (4.75 vs. 4.28, p<0.05), Hispanics (4.90 vs. 4.45, p<0.05), and whites (4.89 vs. 4.51, p<0.05). Quality disadvantage was associated with Head Start in family day care, especially for low birthweight children (2.04 in Head Start vs. 3.58 in non-Head Start, p<0.05). Lower family day care quality was associated with lower maternal education and African American and Hispanic ethnicity. Center-based Head Start programs provide higher quality child care for children at developmental risk. Quality disadvantages in Head Start family day care settings warrant investigation.

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Presented in Session 65: Child Care, School Contexts, and Child Outcomes