News & Publications


The Impact of Home-Based Child Care..., 2015

The Impact of Home-Based Child Care Provider Unionization on the Cost, Type and Availability of Subsidized Child Care In Illinois

Article first published onlline: May 14, 2015

Todd Grindal, Ph.D., Associate, Abt Associates, Martin West, John B. Willett and Hirokazu Yoshikawa

What was the genesis of the idea for your research/paper?

I first became interested in this issue in 2011. On the heels of the raucous debates in Wisconsin regarding curtailing the rights of its public sector labor unions, the issue of allowing childcare workers to form labor unions and bargain collectively with the state movement began to receive similar treatment in states like Minnesota and Michigan. The arguments for and against policies that support childcare labor unions were replete with rhetorical flourish but woefully short on rigorous, unbiased data analysis. Our hope was that this paper could provide policy makers with empirical evidence of how unions had or had not made an impact on important aspects of the child care marketplace.

What is the main conclusion that becomes evident from your research? (Or, what is your main takeaway?)

The paper finds that In Illinois, home based childcare provider collective bargaining led to: 1:An increase in the percentage of subsidized care provided in licensed (vs. license-exempt) settings 2: A decrease in the percentage of subsidy-receiving infants and toddlers who used childcare subsidies 3: No differences in the percentage of subsidized care provided in home-based (vs. center-based) settings 4: No differences in the average dollar amounts paid to providers to care for subsidy-receiving children My main take away from the paper is that unionization appears to provide possible path to professionalization for childcare workers but that this better monitored care may come at the expense of broader access to subsidized care.

What are some of the more interesting or surprising findings/conclusions did you find in the process of bringing this together?

Though this was not the main thrust of my paper, I was surprised by how little childcare providers typically earn for their work. We looked at estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that childcare workers earn slightly less per year than people who care for animals (veterinary assistants) or people who care for cars ( parking lot attendants). Earnings among home based childcare providers, the focus of this study are even lower than that average for all childcare providers.

Click here to view article


Author's Bio

Todd Grindal is an Associate at Abt Associates. Dr. Grindal earned his doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education where he studied the impact of policies and programs on young children and children with disabilities. He has contributed to several studies of special education policy and practice using extant administrative, geospatial, and test score data to examine patterns of special education identification, educational placement and academic performance for students with disabilities. Dr. Grindal has also designed and administered numerous surveys of special education administrators and parents of students with disabilities.

Dr. Grindal has been recognized as an Emerging Education Policy Scholar by the Fordham Foundation and American Enterprise Institute and has received numerous awards including a Julius B. Richmond Fellowship from the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, a Child Care Research Policy Scholars fellowship from the Administration for Children and Families, and the Meade Fellowship from the Institute for Educational Leadership. Prior to his graduate work Dr. Grindal worked as a classroom teacher and school administrator at the high school, elementary school and preschool levels.

Twitter: @grindato