Nearly half of all working parents rely on home-based child care. To raise the quality of care in this setting, Erikson is working with an often overlooked group of child care professionals.

Image: mother and children reading

In partnership with Illinois Action for Children, Erikson’s Juliet Bromer and Tonya Bibbs recently completed a pilot training program for agency staff who support caregivers working out of their own homes.

“Professionals who support home-based child care providers play a very important role in quality care, but it is often not recognized,” says Bromer. “They interact with 10 or 20 caregivers, who often work with a number of children and families. By tailoring training specifically to the needs of these support staff, we may improve the care for a large number of children.”

Over the course of the last year, 16 staff members from Illinois Action for Children attended weekly seminars to deepen their understanding of child development and what quality home-based care looks like. They also worked to develop the skills necessary to develop strong relationships with caregivers and reflected on how their personal experiences affect their professional practice.

In May, Bromer and Bibbs published an article on the training in Zero to Three Journal.
Download the article » [PDF, 8pg]

The evaluation of the training pilot is expected to be complete this fall. Agencies interested in training for staff members who work with home-based care providers can contact Juliet Bromer at 312-893-7127 or [email protected].

Research-based training

The spark for the training program was Erikson’s Family Child Care Network Impact Study, directed by Bromer, which explored if and how support networks improve the quality of care offered by home-based providers.

One of the key findings: quality care is strongly associated with network coordinators who are specially trained in relationship-based services. These types of services include conducting home visits focused on helping the caregiver work with children and parents, offering training for caregivers, and providing regular opportunities for communication.

 

The Family Child Care Network Impact Study was sponsored by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The training for support staff working with home-based providers project and evaluation was funded by Illinois Action for Children.