Participating in Childcare Subsidy Programs Increases Employment and Annual Earnings for Working Parents

William Clay Fannin, Syracuse University
Colleen Heflin, Syracuse University
Taryn Morrissey, American University
Siobhan O'Keefe, Syracuse University


Finding affordable childcare can be a struggle. Childcare subsidy programs help reduce barriers to stable childcare options and support parents’ employment, but due to administrative hurdles, such as recertification periods and income reporting requirements, many eligible parents are not using these programs. Using quarterly employment and earnings data from 2016-2019 Virginia administrative data, this brief describes associations between childcare subsidy program participation and household employment and earnings outcomes among low-income families in Virginia. Results show that, following initial childcare subsidy receipt, working parents increased their labor force participation, earned more money, and experienced more economic and employment stability compared to low-income working parents who were eligible, but not receiving childcare subsidies.