Correlates and Consequences of Child Care Arrangements among the Families of Teenage Parents

Stefanie F. Mollborn, University of Colorado at Boulder
Casey Blalock, University of Colorado at Boulder

Child care is commonly thought to benefit teen mothers and their children. Using national data, we assessed the consequences of child care for these groups. We identified four latent classes representing predominant child care situations of teenage parents’ children from 9 months to 4 years old. The “no child care” group came from more disadvantaged backgrounds than children receiving various types of child care. In regression and propensity score analyses, we found that children in the “no care” class exhibited compromised cognitive development at age 4. Mothers also benefited from child care through gains in education and household income and reduced repeated childbearing. Qualitative findings suggest most teenage mothers are aware that child care would benefit their family, but cost and availability keep many at home. Nonparental care is beneficial for both teenage mothers and their children, suggesting child care provision before preschool age is a promising route for policy.

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Presented in Poster Session 4