Partnering to Improve Child Care Policy

Evaluating investments to expand high quality child care in Illinois

Chapin Hall was awarded a federal grant to develop a Child Care Policy Research Partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, the Illinois Head Start Association, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Together, the partnership will use multiple sources of data to conduct research that informs and evaluates policy changes that can improve access to and increase the supply of high-quality child care in Illinois.

By leveraging Chapin Hall’s established administrative data assets via the Administrative Data Research Facility, the partnership will explore policymakers’ most urgent questions related to child care. The partnership’s work will be responsive to current priorities of Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the early care and education system in Illinois. These priorities include COVID-19’s dramatic impact on the Illinois child care landscape.

Key areas of inquiry include:

  • What are the patterns of subsidized child care use for families and childcare providers?
  • What are the employment patterns of parents and childcare providers?
  • What are the present-day and future barriers to childcare access in Illinois?
  • What is the supply of high-quality child care in Illinois? What communities are high-quality childcare providers serving, and have these communities changed over time?

The partnership will expand on IDHS’s capacity to respond to family needs in a way that is timely and well-researched. Ultimately, the findings of this partnership will have implications not only for those families receiving child care, but also for the broader early childhood education community in Illinois.

Funding for the project is provided by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Children and Families.

This joint project is led by Dr. Robert Goerge of Chapin Hall, and Linda Saterfield of the Illinois Department of Human Services. Other Chapin Hall team members include Dr. Leah Gjertson, Dr. Nick Mader, Dave McQuown, and Emily Wiegand.

For more information about this work, contact Dr. Leah Gjertson.