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Improving the Supply and Quality of Child Care Programs and Services for Infants and Toddlers

Providing high-quality, age-appropriate care for infants and toddlers can be accomplished in a number of ways:

  • Providing child care providers with specialized training and professional development on developmentally appropriate services, as well as coaching and technical assistance, can improve the quality of child care directly.
  • Establishing or expanding high-quality community- and neighborhood-based care and coordinating with other services (such as early intervention specialists) can help ensure that the unique needs of infants and toddlers are being met.
  • By establishing infant and toddler components in licensing regulations, QRISs, and early learning and development guidelines, Lead Agencies can support infants and toddlers comprehensively and better ensure that parents have access to information about high-quality infant and toddler care.

Lead Agencies will be asked to identify in their CCDF Plans which of the following activities are being implemented to improve the quality of child care programs and services for infants and toddlers:

  1. Establishing or expanding high-quality community- or neighborhood-based family and child development centers, which may serve as resources to child care providers in order to improve the quality of early childhood services provided to infants and toddlers from low-income families and to help eligible child care providers improve their capacity to offer high-quality age-appropriate care to infants and toddlers from low-income families
  2. Establishing or expanding the operation of community- or neighborhood-based family child care networks
  3. Providing training and professional development to promote and expand child care providers’ ability to provide developmentally appropriate services for infants and toddlers
  4. Providing coaching or technical assistance on this age group’s unique needs from statewide networks of qualified infant/toddler specialists
  5. Coordinating with early intervention specialists who provide services for infants and toddlers with disabilities under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.)
  6. Developing infant and toddler components within the state’s QRIS
  7. Developing infant and toddler components within the state’s child care licensing regulations
  8. Developing infant and toddler components within the early learning and development guidelines
  9. Improving parents’ ability to access transparent and easy-to-understand consumer information about high-quality infant and toddler care
  10. Carrying out other activities determined by the state to improve the quality of infant and toddler care provided in the state, where there is evidence that the activities will lead to improved infant and toddler health and safety, cognitive and physical development, or well-being[1]

Resources: Improving Infant and Toddler Care

The Infant/Toddler Resource Guide, from the Child Care State Capacity Building Center, provides many resources to support the development and implementation of policies and practices for high-quality care for infants and toddlers.

Strengthening State and Territory Infant/Toddler Child Care System Policies and Practices: A Tool for Advancing Infant/Toddler Child Care Quality

State and Territory Approaches to Improving the Supply and Quality of Child Care Programs and Services for Infants and Toddlers

Developing a Statewide Network of Infant/Toddler Specialists: Technical Assistance Guide for States and Territories, Revised 2017

Six Essential Program Practices: Program for Infant/Toddler Care These six papers promote evidence-based program practices that support positive outcomes for infants and toddlers in group care settings.

Supporting Babies through QRIS: A Self-Assessment Tool for U.S. States and Other Jurisdictions, published by Zero to Three, is a resource that Lead Agencies can use to help ensure that the unique needs of infants and toddlers are addressed in QRISs or similar quality improvement initiatives.

 


[1] Office of Child Care. (2015). 7.3.1. In Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Plan preprint. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.