By Shellie Parrish
Quality child care for disadvantaged children can result in significant economic and social gains later in life according to new research. The conclusion is the result of new findings by Professor James Heckman, University of Chicago. The study displayed the correlation between access to quality child care and earned income of children receiving quality care in rural areas. Quality child care was defined as including “educational activities” and nutritious meals.
Professor Heckman, leader of the University study, followed children in North Carolina from birth to age 35. Heckman’s study focused on two full-time programs that provided free child care to low-income families and a control group that received no care or were enrolled in part-time programs. Heckman’s study found that mothers who received full-time care made more money while their children were enrolled in the program and earned more than their peers twenty years later. When participants were assessed at age 30, researchers found that females grew up to make approximately $2,500 more a year and males made $19,800 more a year.
The results of Heckman’s study reiterate the importance of quality child care in childhood but Congress has difficulty coming together to find a solution in funding such care. President Trump talked about expansion of tax credits for child care during the campaign but the limited information on how that will be structured, suggests it may not benefit the populations studied in this research. More information can be found at, “There’s more to gain by taking a comprehensive approach to early childhood development.”