Study examines poorly regulated yet popular option for parents

Chicago (September 10, 2009) — Erikson Institute’s Herr Research Center for Children and Social Policy has published the final report on its findings from the Family Child Care Network Impact Study, which looked at whether a child care provider’s membership in a staffed support network was actually related to better care for children. Staffed support networks administer state subsidies and Head Start services to licensed homebased child care providers. Many of these networks offer other services as well, such as trainings, home visits, and business assistance. This study is the first to give concrete, research-based recommendations on which services networks should provide.

The study was commissioned by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation/Chicago (LISC) and funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

What were the findings?

The Family Child Care Network Impact Study identified a significant and strong correlation between membership in a staffed network and higher quality care in home-based settings when the network was staffed by a specially-trained coordinator who offered relationship-based support to providers, including on-site training and visits to homes.

Why is this important?

Home-based care is one of the most popular child care options, especially for low-income parents and for parents of infants and toddlers. Parents appreciate the home-based setting for their youngest children as well as the flexibility and affordability home-based providers can offer. Much of this care, however, is reported as low quality, particularly in low-income communities, where children tend to benefit even more from high quality early care than do their more advantaged peers.

“This option isn’t going to go away, so we need to find strategies for improving it. This study does that,” says Ricki Lowitz, senior program officer at LISC.

For full details, including copies of the Family Child Care Network Impact Study briefing, executive summary, and final report; or interviews with the study’s author, Juliet Bromer, contact Jeffrey Brennan at 312.893.7109 or [email protected]

About Erikson Institute.

Erikson (www.erikson.edu) is the nation’s only graduate school to focus exclusively on child development from birth to age eight. An independent institution of higher education, it prepares child development professionals for leadership through academic programs, applied research and community involvement. For more than 40 years, the Institute has advanced the ability of educators, practitioners, researchers and decision-makers to improve the lives of children and their families. Its Herr Research Center for Children and Social Policy informs, guides, and supports effective early childhood policy in the Great Lakes region.