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National Resources about Family Child Care

Family child care (FCC) has many unique qualities that sets it apart from other early care and education settings. A FCC setting offers several benefits to families. Some benefits include a neighborhood-based home environment, smaller groups of children, mixed-age groups so that siblings can be together, a consistent caregiver, and greater flexibility in hours of operation. However, FCC providers may face challenges, such as a sense of isolation, limited resources when working longer hours, no support staff, and less business expertise. Stakeholders strive to understand these issues as they develop ways to support and increase the success and stability of FCC providers. Many resources address health, safety, and quality improvement systems across all early childhood settings, including FCC. However, the following online resources and written products more specifically address FCC settings.

Online Tools

QRIS Resource Guide
The QRIS Resource Guide is a tool for that helps states and communities explore key issues and decision points during the planning and implementation of a quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). The “search” function allows users to identify topics that are specific to FCC, such as participation, standards, and use of assessment tools.

 

Provider Cost of Quality Calculator (PCQC)
This tool calculates the cost of care based on provider data for FCC homes and centers. The tool can help state policymakers, child care providers, and other stakeholders understand the costs associated with delivering high-quality care. It can also show whether there is a gap between a program’s cost of care and the revenue sources available to support the program.

National Program Standards Crosswalk Tool
This tool supports the alignment of program standards for licensing, quality rating and improvement systems, and prekindergarten programs. It is prepopulated with national early childhood program standards, including accreditation standards from the National Association for Family Child Care, Caring for Our Children Basics, and Head Start Performance Standards..

Data Explorer and State Profiles
This database allows users to search for information about various early care and education topics, including FCC demographic information, data on licensing requirements, program quality improvement activities, and professional development and workforce initiatives.

 

National Database of Child Care Licensing Regulations
This tool helps users find state and territory child care licensing regulations and agency contact information. It includes licensing regulations for child care centers and FCC homes.

 

Resources about Supports and Systems for Improving Quality in Family Child Care

Engaging Family Child Care Providers in Quality Improvement Systems (November 2017)
This brief is for local, regional, and state stakeholders invested in engaging FCC and family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) providers in quality improvement initiatives and supporting these sectors of the early childhood professional community. It presents outreach strategies and efforts to engage FCC and FFN providers, and highlights how considering these providers’ unique characteristics can positively influence their ability and willingness to participate in quality improvement efforts.

Supporting Access to High-Quality Family Child Care: A Policy Assessment and Planning Tool for States, Territories, and Tribes (November 2017)
FCC plays a big role in meeting families’ early care and education needs, and is important for states, territories, and tribes to promote access to high-quality FCC options. This tool provides a framework for assessing local, regional, and state policies and practices to ensure they support access to high-quality FCC options.

Staffed Family Child Care Networks: A Research-Informed Strategy for Supporting High-Quality Family Child Care (September 2017)
This brief includes a description of FCC networks and addresses the support a staffed FCC network can provide, particularly to special populations: family, friend, and neighbor care providers; license-exempt providers; English language learners; and dual language learners. It also describes the essential elements of an effective network and the value networks bring to the FCC profession.

Developing a Staffed Family Child Care Network: A Technical Assistance Manual (September 2017)
This manual is for leaders and stakeholders at the state, regional, and local levels who are planning to support the FCC provider community through staffed FCC networks. It provides key considerations and questions necessary to effectively implement networks. The first section explores the rationale for adopting networks to improve FCC quality and the role of FCC in serving a range of diverse populations. The second section explores the critical components of a staffed FCC network. The third section outlines the four stages of successful network implementation—exploration, installation, initial implementation, and full implementation.

Staffed Family Child Care Network Cost Estimation Tool and User's Guide  (September 2017)
The Family Child Care Network Cost Estimation Tool (CET) helps state, regional, and local organizations better understand the costs of operating a staffed FCC network. The CET can be used to estimate the operating costs for services offered by a staffed FCC network. This document is a user’s guide that provides instructions for the CET. The calculator tool, which is a Microsoft Excel file, is available from the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance by emailing QualityAssuranceCenter@ecetta.info.

Early Care and Education Program Characteristics: Effects on Expenses and Revenues (October 2016) 
The brief demonstrates how the Provider Cost of Quality Calculator can be used to understand the impact of program characteristics on the revenue and expenses of an early childhood center or FCC home. For example, it measures factors such as participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, program size and ages of children accepted into care, enrollment efficiency, and bad debt or uncollected revenues.

Caring for Our Children Basics Health and Safety Standards Alignment Tool for Child Care Centers and Family Child Care Homes (June 2016)
Caring for Our Children Basics (CFOCB) represents the minimum health and safety standards experts believe should be in place where children are cared for outside their own homes, whether in home-based programs or center-based facilities. Although use of CFOCB is voluntary, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) hopes CFOCB will help states and territories as they work to improve health and safety standards in both licensing and quality rating and improvement systems. This tool provides a simple format for users to compare their current early childhood program requirements and standards against the recommended health and safety standards in CFOCB.

Caring for Our Children Basics: Program Review Tool for Center-Based Programs and Family Child Care Homes (2018)
This Program Review Tool lists the minimum health and safety standards for child care settings outside of the home. Centers and family child care home providers can use this tool to assess their current health and safety practices, identify where practices should be stronger, and develop strategies and plans for professional development.

State Policies that Support Business Practices of Child Care Providers (June 2016)
This brief provides an overview of strategies that states and territories can use to promote and strengthen business practices and leadership in early childhood settings. This resource, which includes state examples, is divided into four key sections: licensing, quality rating and improvement systems, professional development, and resources. It includes examples of states that require preservice training in business administration as part of the qualifications for family and/or group child care home providers.

Products from the 2014 Child Care Licensing Study

Research Brief #2: Trends in Family Child Care Home Licensing Regulations and Policies for 2014 (November 2015)
This brief examines the state of licensing FCC homes in 2014 and identifies trends that have become apparent during several years of data collection. Data are from state child care licensing regulations and the results of the National Association for Regulatory Administration’s survey of state licensing agencies. The findings provide evidence that states are making positive changes in their licensing requirements and policies to protect the health and safety of children in out-of-home care.

Research Brief #3: Trends in Group Child Care Home Licensing Regulations and Policies for 2014 (November 2015)
This brief examines the state of licensing group child care homes in 2014 and identifies trends that have become apparent during several years of data collection. Data are from state child care licensing regulations and the results of the National Association for Regulatory Administration’s survey of state licensing agencies. The findings provide evidence that states are making positive changes in their licensing requirements and policies to protect the health and safety of children in out-of-home care.

Threshold of Licensed Family Child Care in 2014 (October 2014)
Each state has a minimum number of children in care (i.e., threshold) that determines when a license is required. Most states set the licensing threshold at three or four children. This document provides information about the thresholds at which states require a license and indicates that 10 states require FCC homes to be licensed if there is just 1 child in care that is not related to the provider. The remaining 41 states allow some number of children to be in FCC that is not required to be licensed.

Resources about License-Exempt Family Child Care

Monitoring License-Exempt CCDF Homes (November 2015)
This issue brief explores factors to consider when developing a monitoring system, including requirements, inspections, and processes for responding to violations, complaints, referrals, and appeals. The brief also shares factors that influence the cost of implementing a monitoring system: caseloads, number of providers, and compensation and support systems for monitors and supervisors. Four monitoring models are described and state examples are provided. It is one of a series of three issue briefs that offer insights into how states and territories have improved their systems with new requirements, monitoring policies, and support systems for exempt providers.

Supporting License-Exempt Family Child Care (November 2015)
This issue brief aims to help Child Care and Development Fund Administrators and their partners in their work to support license-exempt FCC homes. States and territories can better support the children and families served by FCC care when they address the unique needs of exempt FCC homes. This brief is organized into two sections: the first provides an overview of terminology, characteristics, parental preferences, and child care assistance data; and the second provides examples of several state and national initiatives to support exempt FCC. It is one of a series of three issue briefs that offer insights into how states and territories have improved their systems with new requirements, monitoring policies, and support systems for exempt providers.

Monitoring and Supporting License-Exempt Care: Case Studies (November 2015)
This issue brief shares the experiences of six states (AR, AZ, IN, ND, NM, and UT) that have started to address the challenges of monitoring exempt care. The brief describes the different state structures, highlights states’ different needs, presents cultural diversity and compliance levels, illustrates efforts to retain exempt home providers, shares lessons learned, and describes how states cultivated support for policy changes. Though the issue brief is primarily focused on exempt homes, it also provides information about how these states oversee exempt centers. It is one of a series of three issue briefs that offer insights into how states and territories have improved their systems with new requirements, monitoring policies, and support systems for exempt providers.

Products from the National Survey of Early Care and Education

Characteristics of Home-Based Early Care and Education Providers: Initial Findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (March 2016)
This report, funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), provides a nationally representative estimate of all home-based care to children ages birth through 5 years and not yet in kindergarten as of 2012, using data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education. Home-based providers discussed in the report include both paid and unpaid providers. The report describes the characteristics of the providers themselves and the care they provide.

Fact Sheet: Who Is Providing Home-Based Early Care and Education? (May 2015)
This fact sheet is based on data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education. It is the first nationally representative portrait of home-based early care and education providers. It describes those who care for other people’s children, age 5 years and younger, in home-based settings. Key characteristics reported include the numbers of such providers, numbers of children cared for, whether providers are paid/unpaid for care, and what if any prior personal relationships existed between providers and the children for whom they care.

Webinars and Presentations

Supports and Systems for Improving Access to and Sustainability of Family Child Care
This webinar introduces two new resources—Supporting Access to High-Quality Family Child Care: A Policy Assessment and Planning Tool for States, Territories, and Tribes and Engaging Family Child Care Providers in Quality Improvement Systems. These provide promising strategies to improve the quality of care, engage FCC providers, and sustain provider participation in regulatory systems and quality improvement initiatives.

Staffed Family Child Care Networks: Improving Access, Quality, and Sustainability
This webinar introduces three resources that focus on building the supply of high-quality FCC through staffed FCC networks. Supporting the development of staffed FCC networks is a promising strategy that states, territories, and tribes can use to engage FCC providers and sustain provider participation in regulatory systems and quality improvement initiatives. Presenters discussed the role that FCC networks can play in supporting providers, shared key considerations for developing a staffed network, and demonstrated use of a tool designed to estimate the cost of operating a FCC network.

Supporting School-Age Children in Family Child Care Interactive Webinar
The National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment and the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance came together to offer an interactive webinar session to better understand state, territory, and tribe needs regarding school-age children in FCC. The National Association for Family Child Care presented an overview of the current status of FCC and supports for providers.

Resources to Support Family Child Care Providers Who Support Infants and Toddlers
This webinar examines trends in FCC, as well as strategies for tailoring training and technical assistance to FCC providers. It also provides information about states’ recruiting and retention policies and shares resources to support FCC providers and families of infants and toddlers.

Health and Safety Requirements: How Do You Maintain Compliance?
This presentation at the 2016 National Association for Family Child Care’s Family Child Care Institute included a dialogue about the various types of state, national, and federal standards that providers are required to meet. Presenters from the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance and the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness provided an overview of trends in licensing, subsidy, Head Start, and quality rating and improvement system standards.

Monitoring and Supporting License-Exempt Child Care
This PowerPoint presentation from a regional webinar includes an overview of licensing thresholds, common exemptions, national data on monitoring, cost of monitoring, and supports for exempt FCC, including training.

Bringing License-Exempt Family Child Care into the Quality Improvement System
This presentation by the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance at the 2016 QRIS National Meeting focuses on strategies for including license-exempt FCC in the quality improvement system. It provides an analysis of states’ existing support systems and opportunities for improvement.

Other Federal Resources

The Office of Child Care Family Child Care web page includes a brief about why OCC supports FCC and a resource list.

The Office of Head Start’s Local Early Childhood Partnerships web page has information about supporting FCC participation in the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships.

Child Care & Early Education Research Connections promotes high-quality research in child care and early education and the use of that research in policymaking. It has a comprehensive resource list on quality improvement in home-based child care settings. Resources include those with research on license-exempt child care as well as licensed and regulated FCC.