Welfare Families' Use Of Early Childhood Care And Education Programs, And Implications For Their Children's Development

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Early Childhood Research Quarterly


With recent legislation placing a strong emphasis on the transition of welfare mothers into the workforce, it becomes increasingly important to understand whether and how participation in early childhood care and education programs has implications for the development of children from welfare families. This study focused on a sample of 182 African-American families, all of whom had applied for or were receiving Aid to Families With Dependent Children, and each with a child of between 3 and 5 years of age. We first examined which of a wide range of background characteristics predicted participation in early childhood care and education programs. We then examined whether measures of the children's school readiness and social maturity were predicted by current participation in an early childhood program, above and beyond the background characteristics associated with the use of such a program. Our results indicate that participation in an early childhood program is associated with significantly higher scores on the measure of school readiness.

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