La Follette students present child care findings at Madison capitol

Graduate students present information about their research projects to legislators and staff during UW–Madison Day at the Capitol, a University of Wisconsin–Madison advocacy and outreach event held at the Wisconsin State Capitol on April 27, 2022.

Last month, a team of La Follette students presented their analysis of policy alternatives to increase equitable child care access in La Crosse County to legislators and legislative staff members at the annual UW–Madison Day at the Capitol.

The analysis is the result of a semester-long collaborative project with La Crosse County, the UW–Madison Division of Extension, and UniverCity Year.

La Crosse County, like many Wisconsin counties, does not have enough licensed child care slots available to meet the needs of the county’s families with young children and is currently exploring innovative solutions.

The student team of Genevieve Caffrey, Manman Ding, Dana Nielsen, and Anna Sucsy analyzed state, local, and national data to assess the social costs and benefits of three alternatives relative to current policy.

The team found that child care innovations that target families with the highest need create the largest payoffs for funders and communities. The team’s statistical analysis found that, on average, costs were greater than benefits for all three policy alternatives when the team assumed use by middle- and high-income families, while benefits were greater than costs when the team assumed use by low-income families.

The project was part of the La Follette’s School’s course on benefit-cost analysis. Each fall, teams of La Follette School Master of Public Affairs students complete benefit-cost analyses for community partners in the public sector. A benefit-cost analysis is a way to monetize a program or policy’s impacts on a community.

The full report and a summary of the analysis is available on the Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars website.

As part of the UW–Madison Day at the Capitol, La Follette School Professor Mark Copelovitch also gave a faculty flash talk on the economic impact of the War in Ukraine.

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