Erikson Institute received a grant from the Foundation for Child Development to examine the reasons behind the decreasing numbers of licensed family child care programs (FCC) in the U.S and the factors that contribute to FCC engagement and retention in the early childhood workforce.
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This exploratory study sought to understand why FCC educators enter the field, what keeps them engaged, and the reasons for departure from the profession. Study findings inform efforts to increase the numbers of high-quality FCC settings and integrate these professionals into the broader early care and education workforce and systems at all levels.
The project consisted of two primary components: a comprehensive literature review and a qualitative study of current and former FCC educators.
The literature review examined existing research on potential factors that shape job tenure including educator and program characteristics, systems participation, and parent perspectives on child care preference and choice.
The qualitative data study entailed focus groups and in-depth interviews with a diverse sample of FCC educators, including non-English speakers across California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, four geographic areas of the country where there has been a documented decrease in the numbers of FCC programs.
Additional Products from the MSSFCCDS
Focus groups for the study were underway in March when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The research team became concerned about the impact that the crisis would have on the long-term operations and sustainability of family child care providers, and added questions about these changes to the focus group protocol. Recommendations in this brief are based on findings from 22 of the focus groups. The brief provides policy guidance on how to support the family child care workforce that is so central to family employment and the economy as the country grapples with the ongoing effects of the pandemic.
Using data from the MSSFCCDS, this brief explores data from 169 family child care providers in California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin to unpack perceptions of quality and understand how a (mis)alignment in quality priorities may relate to engagement in quality ratings and improvement systems.
This brief, published in partnership with the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, Early Childhood National Centers, uses data from the MSSFCCDS to describe the challenges family child care providers face in becoming and staying licensed and offers strategies to sustain and build FCC supply.
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