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Title:Access to Quality Child Care for Preschool Children With Disabilities: An Examination of Efforts by Illinois Head Start Programs in the Context of Welfare Reform
Author(s):Bhagwanji, Yashwant
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McCollum, Jeanette A.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Public and Social Welfare
Abstract:This study investigated the efforts of Head Start (HS) programs in improving access to quality and inclusive child care for preschool-aged children with disabilities and their families. Using survey questionnaires and telephone interviews, 81 Head Start Disability Service Coordinators (DSCs) from the state of Illinois responded to a series of questions pertaining to their experiences and expectations for the future. Challenges were identified at the (a) family level (e.g., high cost of child care despite subsidies; transportation problems; needs in job training and good paying jobs); (b) HS program level (e.g., lack of training in working with children with disabilities and their families; limited collaborative opportunities with local child care providers; excessive caseload); and (c) community child care level (e.g., lack of quality; long waiting lists; subsidies not accepted). Absence of appropriate governmental policies and accompanying regulations to promote quality community child care services, especially through personnel and facility enhancement, were also concerns raised by the DSCs. Another issue, the 1996 welfare reform law, was identified as a factor in influencing parents' eligibility to family support programs and their capacities to access quality services for their children with disabilities. Despite these challenges, HS staff described a number of initiatives that had been taken to improve access to quality and inclusive child care services in the communities. Programmatic efforts included providing full day services and improving communication about child care needs with parents. Non-programmatic strategies included administrative initiatives to increase collaboration with job training agencies and employers, extending training to child care providers in the community, and applying for grants to offer needed child care services. A number of implications are drawn and discussed, as well as areas for future research.
Issue Date:1999
Description:112 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9944797
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1999

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