For measures of child care demand to be effective, what researchers are measuring needs to align with the needs of states using those estimates. The objective of this Think Tank is to engage in an interactive discussion of the ways that researchers, state administrators, and policy analysts are conceptualizing and measuring “demand” for child care within the context of equitable access to care, especially access for low-income families.
Two facilitators will guide participants in sharing their challenges and opportunities in measuring the demand for child care by ages of children, financial need of families, family characteristics (e.g., employment status) and program eligibility. Current strengths and shortcomings of various approaches will be considered. Through an active and facilitated discussion, we aim to move the field forward in how we measure demand and apply that measurement within a policy context. Proposed questions to encourage discussion include:
• What are ways you have measured child care demand in the past?
• What are the definitional and conceptual challenges in measuring child care demand?
• What successes have you had in measuring demand?
• What challenges have you had in measuring demand?
• What is left out of common approaches? What aren’t we capturing that we should?
• What do we know from related literatures about measuring demand that could inform our work?
• What are implications for policymakers and state-level professionals?
Insights gained from the Think Tank will inform future efforts to reconceptualize and measure demand for child care.
• Tamara Halle, Child Trends
• Sara Anderson, Child Trends