Julia R. Henly, Juliet Bromer

This paper, published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, presents a qualitative investigation of the work-family support roles of a sample of 29 child care providers serving low-income families in the Chicago area (16 family, friend, and neighbor providers (FFN), 7 licensed family child care providers (FCC), and 6 center-based teachers).

Providers report offering low-income parents substantial logistical (flexible hours, help with routines) and economic help (flexible fees, help with subsidies) managing work and family, in addition to their care of children. For FFN providers, support was often provided in the context of significant stress and burden. FCC providers and center-based teachers were often constrained in their help-giving by ambivalence regarding professional guidelines and institutional constraints.

Findings from this study may inform future research on the effects of child care on children and parents, and models of child care quality.