National Study of Family Child Care Networks
Home-based child care, including regulated family child care providers and license-exempt family, friend, and neighbor caregivers, accounts for the largest sector of the early care and education workforce (NSECE, 2014). More young children are cared for in these settings in the U.S. than in center-based child care. Despite the prevalence of home-based child care, a relatively small research base exists on strategies that support and help providers improve their caregiving practices. Staffed family child care networks are one promising strategy that has gained growing attention as the federal Office of Child Care seeks to promote strategies that aim to increase the supply and quality of child care for infants and toddlers. Yet little is known about the types of staffed family child care networks that exist across the country.
Erikson Institute’s National Study of Family Child Care Networks aims to address the gap in the knowledge base about staffed family child care networks. Launched in 2017, with support from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, a project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Foundation, and the W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, the project intends to inform policy and programs about network models that support home-based child care providers. The three-year exploratory study consists of four primary components: 1) a national survey of staffed family child care networks; 2) in-depth interviews with a sub-sample of network directors about services implementation; 3) surveys of a sub-sample of providers and staff across networks; and 4) in-depth case studies of two promising networks.
Our first report presents findings from survey data as well as examples of network services and strategies from qualitative interviews with network directors.
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