Juliet Bromer of the Herr Research Center for Children and Social Policy served as guest editor for the Early Childhood Research Quarterly‘s special section on “Understanding and Improving Quality in Family Child Care.”

Lisa McCabe, director of the Cornell Early Childhood Program and a research associate at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, also served as a guest editor.

Published in November, the section presents current research on family child care, a setting in which most children find themselves at some point, says Bromer, “whether it’s licensed or just a neighbor next door after school. The field is so large and diverse that it’s been hard for researchers to collect accurate data. As a result, there hasn’t been nearly as much policy attention given to the family child care world as there has been for center-based programs.”

She hopes the findings will reengage the field and lead to funding for a new generation of research.

“Low-income families especially rely on this type of care to fill in the gaps. Our most vulnerable children are in these settings, so it’s imperative that we understand it so that we can improve it,” Bromer says.

“The research in this special section is a great starting point but it also suggests the need to go further,” she adds. “We lack systematic data on the unique aspects of family child care and we need more studies on interventions that can improve quality in these settings.”