Working paper

Child Care Demand and Supply Under CalWORKS

The Early Impacts of Welfare Reform for California's Children, 1998–2000
Diane Hirshberg
University of Alaska Anchorage


In 1996, the federal government passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), which included the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. TANF altered the structure of the welfare system nationwide and prodded millions of welfare recipients into jobs or welfare-to-work activities. California’s reform program, the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Act, known as CalWORKs, was enacted in 1997.

The TANF and CalWORKs welfare reform initiatives included significant changes in the work support systems for parents on public aid. In California, this led to both a restructuring of the childcare subsidy system, as well as new investments in childcare capacity building efforts.

Prompted by changes in the childcare system and welfare reform, the California Department of Social Services asked PACE researchers to look at how new welfare-to-work and childcare capacity building were affecting supply and demand in the childcare system. This paper provides an overview of the findings in response to this request.

Suggested citationHirshberg, D. (2002, October). Child care demand and supply under CalWORKS: The early impacts of welfare reform for California's children, 1998–2000 [Working paper]. Policy Analysis for California Education.