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Home-Based Child Care Research

Action-oriented and equity-focused research for transformational change

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Dedicated to Supporting Home-Based Child Care Sector

Erikson Institute evidence-based research and implementation tools for childcare policy and practice change

Home-based child care (HBCC) is the most common form of child care in the United States, particularly in racially, culturally, linguistically, and geographically marginalized communities. It includes a continuum of practitioners from grandparents to licensed family child care educators who care for children in their own homes.

Did you know?

Home-Based Child Care (HBCC) is the #1 most common source of child care in the US

48 % +
of HBCC providers are People of Color
40 %
of infants and toddlers attend HBCC
12  million+
children ages 0-12 in HBCC


Since 2007 Erikson Institute has been dedicated to growing the evidence base about HBCC and developing resources that aid this critical sector. While HBCC practitioners and the families they care for have historically been overlooked in research, policy, and practice, Erikson aims to grow the movement for HBCC recognition and improve the lives of HBCC practitioners, children, and families.

Transforming Child Care Systems

To Create Equitable Access to High-Quality Care for Young Children and Their Families

Erikson seeks to promote transformative systems and policy change by addressing gaps between knowledge and practice alongside HBCC practitioners and families. By conceptualizing and executing home-based child care research, along with research articles and tools, Erikson is able to help create systems that focus on children, families, and their caregivers.

Our research and evidence focus on four key areas:

Key Area 1

Understanding the Strengths of Home-Based Child Care

Part of the fabric of nearly every community and neighborhood in the U.S.

Research shows that HBCC practitioners leverage strengths and assets from these lived experiences to deliver high-quality care and education for children, families, and communities. HBCC includes features of quality that are distinct and often overlooked in policy and practice conversations.

Our team explores how providers across the HBCC sector:

Key Area 2

Unpacking the Shifts in the HBCC sector

A critical component of the Care and Education Workforce

Home-based child care helps ensure all families have access to high-quality care and education that meets their needs, preferences, and priorities. Shifts in the supply and availability of HBCC for children and families have been documented across the U.S.

Our team examines some of the factors that contribute to family child care educators’ decisions to enter or leave licensed family child care. Erikson’s research suggests that shifts in the supply of licensed family child care may be driven by the intersection of challenges with economic sustainability, working conditions, and publicly-funded care and education systems, as well as personal factors that family child care educators may face running a business in their own home.

Read about the literature review and research study

Key Area 3

HBCC Policy Implementation and Navigation

Multiple Systems Lead to Challenges

Policies and systems are often difficult for HBCC providers to navigate and participate in, especially when they participate in multiple systems at once.

Our team works with a variety of partners to understand and provide guidance for:

Erikson’s HBCC policy impact

2024 Child Care and Development Fund Final Rule

Erikson’s research about HBCC networks and many evidence-based policies that Erikson advocates for were referenced in the federal Child Care and Development Fund that provides subsidies for almost 1 million working families with low incomes. Those policies include:

  • Changes to subsidy rates and payment policies to promote economic well-being for providers
  • Expansion of access to care for families who work nontraditional hours across all HBCC settings
  • Improved governance that includes provider and family voices

View the Final Rule (PDF)

Key Area 4

Home-Based Child Care Networks

Building Supportive Infrastructure for HBCC

HBCC Networks are interconnected groups of HBCC practitioners including family child care educators and family, friend, and neighbor caregivers. These groups come together to enhance quality, access, and sustainability for HBCC. Networks overall are a promising strategy for nurturing HBCC practitioners’ strengths, supporting them through all phases of their careers, and easing the burden of participating in multiple policies and systems.

Our team conducts implementation research with networks to increase knowledge of practitioners’ experiences receiving supports from networks and networks’ implementation and delivery of services.

Explore HBCC Network Tools & Resources

Grow Your Support for HBCC Providers

Erikson Institute includes actionable recommendations for networks through research-to-policy briefs, white papers, op eds, frameworks and more. These home-based child care tools and resources can be used by networks to strengthen their supports for providers.

This tool examines the quality of relationships and interactions between providers and staff.

This evidence-based framework addresses 11 quality benchmarks for HBCC networks.

This toolkit can help networks assess their own HBCC in six areas.

These tools address supports and resources for health, mental health, financial stability, and social-emotional well-being.

Adrienne Briggs, M.Ed.
Adrienne Briggs, M.Ed.
Lil’ Bits Family Child Care Home, Family Child Care Advisory Board Member, Erikson Home-Based Child Care Research
“ As a home-based child care owner and educator for over 30 years, Erikson’s HBCC research allows me to share my knowledge and experiences to inform the public that HBCC provides essential services in our homes. My hope is that more research like this can be done allowing HBCC educators to share our voices and positively impact this important profession. ”

Meet the Team

Juliet Bromer

Juliet Bromer

Research Professor

Samantha Melvin

Samantha Melvin

Assistant Research Professor

Jessica Miguel

Jessica Miguel

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Patricia Molloy

Patricia Molloy

Research Manager

Marina Ragonese Barnes

Marina Ragonese-Barnes

Research Analyst

Leanett Reinoso

Leanett Reinoso

Research Assistant

Lina Rinko

Lina Rinko

Doctoral Research Assistant

Shiwei Zhang

Shiwei Zhang

Research Assistant

Featured Research Projects

Discover Groundbreaking Research Studies About HBCC

Explore these studies and publications from Erikson’s HBCC Research Initiative

See All HBCC Publications