childrearing. These are the families that seem to have the most difficulty coordinating work and child care schedules, who express concerns about their children's care arrangements, and who report problems affording child care. The working poor are also the least likely of all income groups to receive assistance with their child care costs.
Research presented at the workshop examined the issues surrounding the role of child care in supporting the transition from welfare to work by AFDC families, as well as its role in the lives of the working poor. Apart from the effects of child care on children, the participants looked into what is known about the effects of child care on adults and on their capacity to prepare for and maintain jobs.
Numerous studies have examined the effects of the price of child care on whether and how much mothers work. In general, these studies have found a negative relationship between the price of care and the labor force participation of mothers, although the effects tend to be small in magnitude. Not addressed in this literature, however, are the effects of the affordability of child care for low-income households on the labor force participation of women with young children.
New research discussed at the workshop indicates that affordable child care is a decisive factor in promoting work effort among low-income mothers. The General Accounting Office released a study in December 1994, presented by Alicia Cackley, that used economic modeling to estimate the effects of reducing families' child care costs (via subsidies) on mother's labor force participation (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1994a). The results showed that providing a full subsidy to mothers who pay for child care could increase the proportion of poor mothers who work from 29 to 44 percent, and that of near-poor mothers who work from 43 to 57 percent. The effects on nonpoor mothers were significantly smaller.
Using somewhat different methods, Fronstin and Wissoker (1994) also found that the higher the price of child care, the lower the employment rate in a low-income sample. Again, the effects on employment in a high-income sample were significantly smaller. These investigators caution that previous research that does not consider differences by family income on the effects of child care prices on employment are likely to understate the extent to which the affordability of care affects employment for low-in-