The majority of research on the quality of early care and education arrangements focuses on center-based arrangements, yet over half of young children in non-parental care spend time in home-based child care settings each week (Iruka & Carver, 2006). Furthermore, at-risk families, including those with low incomes, single-parent families, and parents with limited education, are more likely to use home-based care (Boushey & Wright, 2004; Snyder & Adelman, 2004). Existing literature on home-based providers suggests that they tend to be sensitive, engaging, affectionate, and responsive towards children; but offer fewer instructional supports than center-based programs (Porter et al., 2010). Additionally, studies using global quality ratings that assess the environment, interactions, routines, and materials of a setting have found regulated family child care providers to be, on average, lower quality than center-based arrangements (Porter et al., 2010).
The purpose of this research brief is to provide information that can be used to target and guide content for professional development efforts designed for home-based child care providers. To do this, home-based providers who participated in a large multi-state study were grouped into three quality categories according to their scores on observational measures of teaching and interaction, tone/discipline, provisions for health, instructional supports for literacy, and caregiver sensitivity. We also examined how providers in the three groups differed in their professional characteristics, their attitudes and sup-ports, and the composition and characteristics of their home-based care settings.