Delivering Services to Meet the Needs of Home-Based Child Care Providers

Home-based child care (HBCC) encompasses non-custodial care provided by regulated family child care (FCC) providers and family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) caregivers, who may or may not be legally-exempt from regulation. It is the most common child care arrangement for children from birth through age five, caring for approximately seven million children (NSECE Project Team, 2016). More infants and toddlers are in these setting than any other child care arrangement (NSECE Project Team, 2013; Paschall, 2019) and low-income families working non-traditional schedules disproportionately use HBCC (Laughlin, 2013). 

Two issues—improving HBCC quality and maintaining supply—have emerged as pressing questions for policy makers and program administrators across the country. While there is some evidence that both FCC and FFN providers engage in quality improvement initiatives, data about the effects of these initiatives are limited and the results are mixed (Bromer and Korfmacher, 2017; Douglass, Taj, Coonan, & Friedman, 2017; Hallam, Hooper, Bargree, & Han, 2017; Tonyan, Paulsell, & Shivers, 2017). Moreover, while the number of regulated FCC providers decreased by 46% in the past decade (NCECQA, 2019), there is a lack of data on supply-building strategies. 

Some research suggests that family child care networks— organizations that provide a combination of services to HBCC providers delivered by a paid staff member—may be a promising approach for improving the quality and building the supply of HBCC (Bromer & Porter, 2019; Bromer, Van Haitsma, Daley, & Modigliani, 2009; Porter & Reiman, 2016).