Education
Share of Low-Income Children in Quality Care


Share of Low-Income Children in Quality Care

What does this measure?

The estimated enrollment rate of low-income children under age 5 in high quality child care centers. High quality is defined as childcare providers regulated and accredited by one of several national organizations. The percentage of high-quality enrollment is calculated by dividing the number of children receiving Child Care Works (CCW) subsidies that are enrolled in high quality programs by the estimated number of CCW-eligible children who need child care (those with parents who are in the workforce).

Why is this important?

Children placed in high quality care settings are safer and more secure while their parents are at work. They also develop important social and academic skills and are more likely to be ready to start kindergarten. Despite its importance, high-quality child care is often expensive and out of reach for low-income families. Public subsidy programs, such as CCW help low-income families afford child care. The greater the share of low-income children that receive high-quality early child care, the stronger their chances for strong academic outcomes in the future. However, currently there are fewer CCW subsidies than there are eligible children, and even those that get subsidies may not have access to a high-quality center.

How is our county performing?

In 2018, an estimated 5.3% of low-income children under 5 who needed care were enrolled in high-quality early childhood centers, about half of the statewide rate of 10.1%.

Among the comparison counties, only Schuylkill had a lower rate of low-income enrollment in quality childcare, at 3.2%. Lebanon was higher than Berks, at 5.7%, as were Lehigh, 6.6%, Lancaster, 9.7%, Chester, 14.9%, and Montgomery, 19.5%.

Notes about the data

Enrollment counts are based on October enrollment in the fall of a given school year. Only 2018 data is currently available.

High quality providers were defined as regulated child care provider settings that received a Keystone STAR 3 or 4 designation or were certified by an accreditation that was recognized by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL). To be eligible for Child Care Works (CCW) subsidies, families need to have incomes below 200% of the U.S. poverty threshold. Estimates of the number of children under 5 years needing care were derived by multiplying the percent of children under 6 years who have all available parents in the workforce by the estimate of children ages 0-4. This number was then multiplied by the percent of children under 6 years living in families with incomes below 200 percent of the U.S. poverty threshold, as issued by the U.S. Census Bureau, to estimate the number of children eligible for Child Care Works (CCW).

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Share of Low-Income Children in Quality Care
2018
Pennsylvania10%
Berks County5%
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County15%
Lancaster County10%
Lebanon County6%
Lehigh County7%
Montgomery County19%
Schuylkill County3%

Source: Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
Notes: Includes children under 5 in centers designated high quality. Data prior to 2018 is unavailable.




Number of Low-Income Children in Quality Care
2018
Pennsylvania20,693
Berks County425
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County657
Lancaster County845
Lebanon County134
Lehigh County467
Montgomery County1,244
Schuylkill County68

Source: Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
Notes: Includes children under 5 in centers designated high quality. Data prior to 2018 is unavailable.




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