National Survey of Early Care and Education

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Contact: Kenneth J. Wolfe
(202) 401-9215

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) announced today the launch of a National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), which will gather data on the current utilization and availability of early child care and education, including school-age care, and provide unique information to understand the extent to which families’ needs and preferences coordinate well with providers’ offering and constraints.

“This survey will provide a much needed, comprehensive picture of families’ use of early childhood education and school-age care,” said David A. Hansell, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families. “This picture will help us provide the high quality, integrated, early education experiences that children need.”

The NSECE includes four component surveys:

The Formal Provider Survey to be conducted with directors of Early Care and Education (ECE) and School Age care (SA) providers including center-based child care, Head Start, pre-K and regulated or registered family child care homes.
The Household Survey to be conducted with a parent or guardian of a child or children under age 13.
The Family, Friend, Neighbor and Nanny (FFNN) Survey to be conducted with individuals who care in a home-based setting for children under age 13 who are not their own (and who do not appear on an administrative list of ECE/SA providers).
The survey of the ECE/SA workforce to be implemented at the same time as the Formal and FFNN provider surveys.

In addition, states may elect to provide funding to obtain comparable state-level survey data.

“This survey is an important step forward in building our knowledge and understanding of critical issues facing families,” said Joan Lombardi, deputy assistant secretary and inter-departmental liaison for early childhood development.

Planning for the survey began in late September, with the award of a contract to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago to conduct the work. The survey will be conducted early in 2012.   This is the first survey in 20 years to gather data on utilization and availability of early care and education at the same time, coupled with detailed data on parents’ search behaviors for ECE/SA, allowing for analysis to study interactions between choices of ECE/SA available parents, their preferences, constraints and actual selections of programs made for their children.

For information about the Design Phase of the National Survey of Early Care and Education, see:


Note: All ACF news releases, fact sheets and other materials are available at

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