Expansions of Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services Program
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Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program is intended to help families experiencing low incomes and other vulnerabilities obtain high-quality child care, increase children’s school readiness, and help families become economically self-sufficient by subsidizing child care costs while caregivers work or prepare for work through school or training. Since March 2020, the program has played an added role of helping families overcome disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic through policy changes and the use of state and federal relief funds to serve more children, accommodate family challenges, and reduce families’ child care costs.
This research brief by David C. Ribar documents the numbers and characteristics of children who were served by the CAPS program from July 2019 until June 2022—a period that includes the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and several important policy changes. The brief further distinguishes between children in five central metro-Atlanta counties (Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties) and children throughout Georgia.
From July 2019 until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, approximately 63,000 children received CAPS scholarships each week. About a month into the pandemic, the number of children with scholarships began to drop and trended downward, reaching approximately 52,000 by June 2021. Following an expansion in eligibility in the program’s “low-income” priority group in November 2021, the number of children with scholarships rose rapidly and surpassed their pre-pandemic levels by June 2022. Although the number of children with scholarships fell from April 2020 until June 2021, total program costs only changed modestly. After July 2021, program costs grew substantially. Trends were similar in the five central metro-Atlanta counties and the rest of the state.
Ribar, D. (2023). Expansions of Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services Program. Georgia Policy Labs. https://doi.org/10.57709/PWB4-VV06