This research was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. We thank them for their support but acknowledge that the findings and conclusions presented in this report are those of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Foundation.The authors are grateful to Don Baylor at the Annie E. Casey Foundation for his guidance and support throughout the project. We extend our thanks to Elaine Maag at the Urban Institute for offering her expertise related to interactions between the Earned Income Tax Credit and dependent care flexible spending ac-counts.In this two-part series, we provide a field scan of the dependent care flexible spending accounts (DCFSAs) landscape, focusing on child care expenses. We describe the proliferation and utilization of these programs, identify barriers to usage by low- to moderate-income (LMI) parents, and explain features of DCFSA design and program administration that address some of these challenges. We also identify opportunities for improvements in public policies and employer practices that can level the DCFSA playing field for LMI employees.Part 1 defines DCFSAs and outlines the process through which employees may obtain reimbursement, the benefits that employers may experience by offering DCFSAs, patterns of adoption of such plans by employers and employees, and employee decision-making regarding plan participation. In Part 2, we describe features of DCFSA design and program administration that address some of the challenges and provide a set of policy proposals for consideration by both employers and policymakers.
Project: Workforce Financial Stability Initiative
Frank-Miller, E., Fox-Dichter, S., & Wolter, S. (2019). Dependent care FSAs: The uneven playing field for employers and workers (SPI White Paper No. 19-01). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Social Policy Institute.