Juliet Bromer

Home -based child care—care provided by regulated family child care providers and family, friend and neighbor caregivers is the most prevalent child care arrangement for children age five and younger who are not in kindergarten. The National Study of Early Care and Education estimates that there are close to four million home-based caregivers in the United States caring for more than seven million children (NSECE, 2016). Home-based child care is increasingly recognized as a vital segment of the early care and education work force: family child care is a component of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS), Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and universal pre-kindergarten initiatives. Yet, the quality of family child care is often reported to be low, especially for providers serving children from low-income families.

This brief describes how an evaluation of a family child care network in Philadelphia led to consensus around the need to build a city-wide coordinated strategy for supporting family child care. The brief describes the process and activities used to engage stakeholders and outcomes from the first phase of this effort to build a city-wide system. The brief also includes tools from the project which may be helpful for communities and states that seek to better coordinate their services through a similar process.

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The study examined the relationship between affiliation with a staffed support network and quality of child care among affiliated family child care providers in the city of Chicago.

The study identifies several network characteristics associated with higher quality care, including the role of network coordinators and direct services to providers. The reports include recommendations for policy makers and administrators seeking to improve quality care in family child care homes.

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