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Supporting Quality in Home-Based Child Care: A Compendium of 23 Initiatives

Published: March 5, 2010
Child Care
Supporting Quality in Home-Based Child Care, 2007-2010 | Learn more about this project

Home-based child care—regulated family child care and family, friend, and neighbor care that is exempt from regulation—is a common child care arrangement for many young children in the United States, especially those from low-income families. Research suggests that home-based care may be the predominant form of non-parental care for infants and toddlers (Brandon, 2005). It also represents a significant proportion of the child care for children whose families receive subsidies (Child Care Bureau, 2006).

Regulated family child care has been an issue for research and policy since the 1980s, when states actively began to invest in efforts to expand its supply and improve its quality. In contrast, family, friend, and neighbor care did not emerge as a focus of research and policy until the mid 1990s, after the enactment of welfare reform. In the past decade, growing recognition of the role that these unregulated settings play in the child care supply has prompted an increasing number of initiatives that aim to support these caregivers.

Strategies for improving the quality of home-based child care have been explored by many states, local agencies, and foundations, as well as the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, relatively little is known about the effectiveness of these strategies, making it difficult for states to make informed policy and program decisions about how to best support home-based caregivers. To begin to fill this knowledge gap, in 2007 the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, and its subcontractor, Bank Street College of Education, to carry out the Supporting Quality in Home-Based Child Care project.

Last Reviewed: April 29, 2019