Skip to Main Content

Illinois Nontraditional-Hour Child Care Study (INCCS)

This project addresses critical gaps in knowledge about what quality looks like in nontraditional hour (NTH) child care, the experiences of families who search for and use NTH child care, the lived experiences of providers who offer care during these hours, and the types of supports needed to maintain, sustain, and grow its supply. The knowledge gathered will provide IDHS and the field with new knowledge to inform policy development aimed at building supply and increasing equitable access, enhancing quality, and sustaining a thriving NTH workforce.

View Products and Resources

  • Juliet Bromer , Principal Investigator, Erikson Institute
  • Julia R. Henly , Co-PI, University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice
  • David Alexander , Co-PI, Illinois Action for Childre
  • Samantha Melvin , Investigator, Erikson Institute
  • Bethany Patten , Director, Division of Early Childhood at Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Sinthu Ramalingam , Senior Policy Advisor, Division of Early Childhood at Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Patricia Molloy , Research Manager, Erikson Institute
  • Marina Ragonese-Barnes , Research Analyst, Erikson Institute
  • Jessica Miguel , Research Fellow, Erikson Institute
  • Jonathan Okstad , Research Associate, University of Chicago
  • Sarah Jiyoon Kwon , Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Chicago
  • Suh Kyung Lee , Doctoral Student, University of Chicago
  • Alejandra Flores , Research and Evaluation Analyst, Illinois Action for Children
Illinois Nontraditional-Hour Child Care Study (INCCS) - A Research-Policy Partnership
Erikson Institute Home-Based Child Care Research; The University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice - Advancing a More Just and Humane Society; Sylvia Cotton Center for Research & Policy Innovation - Powered by Illinois Action for Children logo ; Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) logo lockup



Equitable access to high-quality child care includes care that is responsive to the work schedules and resource needs of families and the developmental needs of children. Significant proportions of low-income families work nontraditional hours (NTH), yet the early care and education field has focused almost exclusively on child care provision during daytime, weekday hours with limited attention to quality, supply, and workforce experiences during NTH. Correcting this omission is an equity issue, especially given that NTH child care is both provided and used disproportionately by low-income populations of color.

This four-year project will implement a sequenced set of research activities to yield new knowledge about the core pillars of nontraditional hour child care:

  1. demand
  2. supply
  3. quality, and
  4. workforce sustainability

This research will inform IDHS on policy development around increasing the availability of high-quality nontraditional hour child care, a top priority for the state and a focus of new legislation. The research will also inform a national audience of policymakers, program administrators, and practitioners around how to best implement, support, and sustain nontraditional hour child care options that equitably meet the needs and strengths of families, children, and providers.

Activities will include:

  • Synthesis of research on nontraditional hour child care supply, demand, and quality
  • A conceptual model for quality
  • Analysis of 2019 NSECE household survey data to yield new knowledge about child care demand during nontraditional hours.
  • Analysis of Illinois administrative data to examine changes in supply of nontraditional hour child care from pre-pandemic to deepen understanding about nontraditional hour quality practices.
  • Statewide focus groups to understand nontraditional hour child care providers’ working conditions and areas for workforce support development and sustainability.

The INCCS project is a collaboration between Erikson Institute’s Home-Based Child Care Research group, the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice, and Illinois Action for Children. This project is supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the United States (U.S.) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award (Grant #: 90YE0285) totaling $1,600,000 with 100 percent funded by ACF/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACF/HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit the ACF website, Administrative and National Policy Requirements.



Research Questions

  • What do we know about demand and use of NTH CC nationally and in IL?
  • What is the prevalence and characteristics of NTH CC supply nationally and in IL?
  • What NTH CC quality dimensions matter most for equitable child/family outcomes?
  • What are the working conditions in NTH CC and what factors contribute to the sustainability of the NTH CC workforce?

Join the Erikson family with monthly news + events updates shared by academics, community members, and families.

Products and Resources

Erikson hbcc


Definitions of terms and examples of operationalizations.

Erikson hbcc

Quality Literature Review (coming soon)

Literature review on quality in nontraditional hour child care that may be linked to positive outcomes for children and families.

University of Chicago Crown

Scoping Review
(coming soon)

Review on supply and demand of nontraditional hour child care.

Have Questions? Want to Learn More?

Contact the team