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Social Support Can Mitigate Material Hardship for Families Facing Unstable Child Care Subsidy Use

Jaeseung Kim and Julia R. Henly round out this edition of Focus on Poverty with explanations of how child care subsidy stability and social support networks can reduce material hardship for families with low incomes, especially those who cycle on and off child care subsidy programs.


  • Families with low incomes who receive child care subsidies face high rates of material hardship, with the highest material hardship levels for families with unstable patterns of subsidy use.
  • Informal social support can mitigate the material hardship of some families with low incomes who are unstable users of child care subsidies.
  • Policy initiatives designed to stabilize participation in child care subsidy programs may benefit the material well-being of families with low incomes.
  • Programs designed to bolster informal networks of support among households facing material hardship would be complementary to public investments in formal benefit programs, especially for parents with unstable receipt of child care subsidies.


Child Development & Well-Being, Children, Early Childhood Care & Education, Economic Support, Economic Support General, Education & Training


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