Consumer Education and Parental Choice in Early Care and Education, 2020-2025

The purpose of this project is to understand how parents find and use information to make informed choices regarding their children’s enrollment in early care and education programs, with a particular focus on parents’ use of information from states’ and territories’ consumer education efforts. This project also aims to examine the breadth of states’ and territories’ consumer education efforts and dissemination strategies employed by states and territories to identify innovative efforts, as well as to evaluate whether states’ and territories’ consumer education strategies inform parents’ early care and education choices.

Early project tasks include engaging with stakeholders and experts; assessing the knowledge base and developing a literature review and conceptual framework; identifying and analyzing existing data to address key questions about parents’ search and selection of early care and education and use of states’ and territories’ consumer education information; conducting an environmental scan of states’ and territories’ consumer education efforts; and developing, testing, and refining tools that states and territories are authorized to use in the CCDBG law and rules to measure the effectiveness of states’ and territories’ consumer education efforts in supporting parents’ search and selection of early care and education. Subsequent tasks may include collecting new data from parents across multiple states and territories to address key questions about how parents search for early care and education and use consumer education information to make decisions about early care and education; conducting case studies to learn more about the innovative consumer education strategies that states and territories are using; and conducting rigorous evaluations of states’ and territories’ consumer education efforts.

The points of contact are Alysia Blandon and Ellen Litkowski.