Multi-Site Study of Family Child Care Decline and Supply: Examining the Factors Behind the Numbers
July, 2019-December, 2020
Co-PIs: Juliet Bromer, Erikson Institute; Toni Porter, Early Care & Education Consulting
Erikson Institute received a grant from the Foundation for Child Development to examine the reasons behind the decline of licensed family child care (FCC) in the U.S and the factors that contribute to FCC engagement and retention in the early childhood workforce. The descriptive study seeks to understand why FCC providers enter the field, what keeps them engaged, and the reasons for departure from the profession. Study findings will 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 18-month project consists of two primary components: a comprehensive literature review and qualitative data collection with FCC providers. The literature review examined existing research on potential factors that shape job tenure including provider and program characteristics, systems participation, and parent perspectives on child care preference and choice. The qualitative data was collected through focus groups and in-depth interviews with a diverse sample of FCC providers, including non-English speakers and immigrants from California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, four geographic areas of the country where there has been a documented FCC decline. Provider types include: 1) providers who are new to FCC; 2) mid-career providers who are fully engaged in FCC; and 3) providers who have recently left FCC. To better understand the contextual factors that may contribute to changes in supply, we interviewed program and policy administrators in the four areas about their perspectives on the FCC decline and strategies for engagement and retention in their state.
FAMILY CHILD CARE PROVIDERS: UNSUNG HEROES IN THE COVID-19 CRISIS
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.
For more information, please contact:
Juliet Bromer, [email protected]