- Report Published -
|A Study of the Quality, Affordability and Accessibility of Child Care in the Commonwealth of Virginia|
|Department of Social Services|
|Chapter 629 (Regular Session, 1998)|
|AN ASSESSMENT OF THE QUALITY, AFFORDABILITY, AND ACCESSIBILITY OF THE CHILD CARE MARKET IN VIRGINIA|
The Virginia Department of Social Services commissioned this study on behalf of the Virginia Board of Social Services as required by the Virginia General Assembly per Senate Bill 595 (1998). Senate Bill 595 as signed by the Governor, requires a study of the quality, affordability and accessibility of child care be completed and the findings reported to the Governor and General Assembly by October 1, 1999. This study presents findings from the second (quantitative) phase of a two-phase research project. This report was preceded by a phase one focus group study. This phase two study is a statistically representative survey of the experiences and attitudes of the general population of households with children age 6 and under in Virginia.
This study finds no discernible failure in the market for child care services in Virginia. The market for child care services appears to be highly competitive with producers showing considerable sensitivity to consumer references. The market for child care services in Virginia functions efficiently for households with children age 6 and under. A large majority of consumers report they are satisfied with the quality (95%), prices (80%), accessibility (75%), and availability (69%) of child care services offered in Virginia.
This study further finds that producers of child care services for children age 6 and under face a highly competitive market with no single producer or group able to exert power over prices. Providers are extremely diverse and respond to a range of consumer preferences for child care services in the Virginia market. Potential providers range from relatives such as grandparents to day care centers with professionally trained educators. Producers of child care services appear to offer the attributes of quality parents value. Additionally, the demand for child care services is relatively inflexible. However, individual providers are unable to exert any market power over prices charged for their services simply because parents can switch to alternative providers with relative ease.