Can we trust parental reports of child care subsidy receipt?

Anna D. Johnson, Chris Herbst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In recent years, research examining determinants and consequences of the means-tested child care subsidy program (the Child Care and Development Fund [CCDF]) has grown dramatically. To measure subsidy utilization, existing studies typically rely on parent-reported measures of subsidy receipt drawn from large surveys. As the research literature on child care subsidies has grown, however, so have concerns about the trustworthiness of parent-reported subsidy use. One way to assess the quality of parent-reported subsidy use is to examine its overlap with another subsidy receipt measure, drawn from a different source. The current paper uses the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study (FFCWS), the only existing survey data source that contains an alternate measure of subsidy receipt - based on child care provider report - which permits a comparison to parent-reported measures. We find evidence that increases our confidence in the trustworthiness of parents as accurate reporters of subsidy receipt. In recognition that neither data source reflects "true" subsidy receipt, however, we conclude with a discussion of limitations and steps for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)984-993
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Child care
  • Child care subsidies
  • Parent-report
  • Survey data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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