Document Type


Publication Title

Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy



Publication Date



child care, welfare, legislation, Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996


The shortage of subsidized child care creates three problems. First, it contributes to underemployment because job options are greatly reduced when child care is unavailable. Second, it erodes the wages of parents who do work because low-income families spend a debilitating percentage of their earnings to pay for the care of their children. Third, it relegates many children to poor quality child care settings, compromising their academic potential and social well-being, and placing them at risk for delinquency and dependency. Part I of this article discusses the current paucity of quality, affordable child care, and the effects of this shortage. Part II describes the child care provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act and then explores the lessons of the original CCDBG, providing the background for proposed state child care legislation. Part III proposes state child care legislation that maximizes the impact of the increased federal funding and decreased regulatory requirements, relying on the states' six-year experience with the CCDBG. To the extent that this legislation calls for additional state investment, Part II discusses how states can finance these investments.