A happy father and child

Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA) has received a Child Care Policy Research Partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to study the effects of policy changes resulting from the Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014. This research will inform future policy with families, providers, caseworkers, and others. PPA was among 11 organizations selected nationally through a competitive process for this grant.

PPA will collaborate with the Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on the four-year research project. Findings will be used to help shape policies and programs that help parents to better access quality child care both in Michigan and across the country.

“Quality, affordable, and accessible child care is a critical need for low-income working parents and for the development of their children,” said Colleen E. Graber, who is project director for the study. “Unfortunately, too many families are unable to access financial assistance for child care, including many of the most vulnerable families. This partnership will build on ongoing progress in Michigan’s child care system and provide information to expand access.”

According to Nathan Burroughs, the principal investigator of the project, the study could have a major impact on how policymakers and researchers approach child care assistance policy: “We are really breaking new ground. With this partnership, we’ll learn a lot about how child care supports work in different communities across the state and for families from every background.”

“High-quality child care is a pivotal building block for every child,” said Lisa Brewer-Walraven, director of the Office of Child Development and Care at the Michigan Department of Education. “We want to remove any barrier from families having access to that care. This study will help identify what needs to improve, so policymakers can make sure every Michigan child has the best opportunity for a brighter future.”

The research team will employ a multi-faceted approach to examine how demographic and geographic factors influence access to care. The work will support a better understanding of how child care decisions are shaped by local child care markets and conditions. The project will include an examination of the effects of recent policy changes related to child care supports.

PPA provides a wide range of research and evaluation services related to education, workforce development, healthy communities, and criminal and juvenile justice. For more information about Michigan’s Child Care Policy Research Partnership grant or PPA’s other work, contact Ms. Graber at 517-485-4477 or cgraber@publicpolicy.com.