Factors influencing child care-related maternal work exits

Meirong Liu, Manrong Chen, Steven G. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For mothers with young children, child care challenges can pose significant barriers for their labor force participation. Working mothers must arrange for someone else to care for their children when working outside the home. Previous research has shown that women with children spend less time in the labor force compared to women without children. This study used the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study to examine whether a range of child care characteristics, neighborhood factors, and individual factors caused mothers of young children to leave the work force. The results indicated that child care-related work exits are common occurrences for mothers in large urban areas. Of those mothers in the FFCW sample who used non-parental child care, more than one in ten mothers reported work exits due to child care-related problems. Logistic regression analysis further revealed that common risk factors for work exits included changing child care arrangements, using multiple types of child care, living in neighborhoods with a higher percentage of Hispanic population, being African American, and having household income between 50 and 99% of FPL. The findings are useful in informing social policies and interventions to help mothers better bridge the gap between adequate child care and gainful employment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-176
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Child care-related work exits
  • Neighborhood factors
  • Working mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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