Method. Using longitudinal Illinois CCAP administrative data that span 15 months before and after the 2018 policy change (N=7788) and the “subsidy exit” variable defined as having no CCAP payment for three consecutive months, we estimate children's program duration and their risk of subsidy exit during a 13-month and a 7-month window before and after the policy change. As a descriptive analysis, we compute Kaplan-Meier survival curves to estimate differences - by pre and post - in average program duration. Then, we conduct a series of Cox proportional hazard models that test whether the policy change from a 6- to 12-month eligibility period reduces the risk of exiting the subsidy program overall and among families in different subgroups (i.e., main and interaction effects) while controlling for various child and family characteristics and county labor market conditions.
Results. Kaplan-Meier survival curves show that 65% of children were still on the program at 12 months in the post-policy period, whereas only 47% of children were on the program at 12 months in the pre-policy period. In addition, in Cox proportional hazards models, we find consistent results across 7-month and 13-month observation windows that the policy change from a 6- to 12-month eligibility period 1) reduced the risk of exiting the subsidy program across all population subgroups (main effects); 2) had a larger effect among school-age children than preschoolers; and 3) had a larger effect among those who use unlicensed child care arrangements than those who use licensed centers (interaction effects). We also find from the 7-month observation window that the extent of the change was greater for Hispanic children compared to White children.
Implications. Our findings are encouraging as they suggest that not only did spell lengths increase for all population subgroups, but the change had a greater effect on families who historically had relatively short subsidy spells: school-age children, children of color, and children in unlicensed care arrangements. Such enhanced program stability may in turn allow CCAP to support stable employment and economic stability of parents more effectively and also facilitate positive child development (Henly et al., 2017).