Case study

Los Angeles County Child Care Needs Assessment

Brenda Ball Cuthbertson
John Muir Elementary
Bruce Fuller
University of California, Berkeley
Diane Hirshberg
University of Alaska Anchorage


This report is the result of a study conducted for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services.

With an expanding economy and increasing numbers of CalWORK's participants moving into the workforce, demand for childcare in Los Angeles County will increase. Yet, while earlier research pointed to a dearth of childcare, there is little data on where childcare is needed within Los Angeles County, as well as little information on specific types of care available like special needs care or care during non-traditional hours. In 1999, the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) contracted with PACE to conduct a study of the licensed childcare supply for all children in the county. Via a survey of over 2,000 childcare providers in Los Angeles County, PACE was asked to determine the following:

  1. How does the supply of licensed childcare vary across the county? Are vacancy rates lower or higher in certain communities?

  2. How does the supply of childcare vary across low-income communities with high concentrations of welfare recipients?

  3. Across the county, are there shortages in special types of care, such as non-traditional hours care, subsidized care, ill-child care, and care for children with special needs?

The survey data was analyzed at three levels: county-wide, service planning areas, and supervisorial districts.

Suggested citationCuthbertson, B. B., Burr, E., Fuller, B., & Hirshberg, D. (2000, March). Los Angeles County child care needs assessment [Report]. Policy Analysis for California Education.