This report documents the use of probabilistic record linkage methods to calculate participation in the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program.
The innovative approach undertaken in this effort matched National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) household records with CCDF administrative data from the State of Illinois to form a combined database of survey and administrative data. This unified database resembles one from a cross-sectional survey that, by asking retrospective questions, identifies households’ participation in social programs — in this case, the CCDF.
The report includes methodological challenges encountered, as well as lessons learned in linking NSECE households across the two datasets, and in defining CCDF subsidy participation. In order to illustrate how to employ the unified database in applied research, it concludes with an exploratory study of the associations between selected household characteristics and CCDF program participation.