Child Care is a Barrier for Parenting Students

June 2023

Parenting students work hard every day to pursue their goals, often juggling work, classes, and caregiving responsibilities. Public systems and programs can provide critical support, but frequently create additional hurdles for parenting students and their families—especially those with low incomes. In 2022, the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Project SPARC conducted research to better understand the barriers experienced by parenting students participating in CalWORKs, California’s cash assistance program for families with children.

This brief highlights findings from the research on parenting students’ experiences with child care. For parenting students, the lack of accessible and affordable child care is a significant barrier because parents must first ensure that their children are taken care of before they can dedicate time and energy to class, study time, and work.