New Study: Perspectives on Improving Early Child Care and Education

Posted by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on February 1, 2022

What defines quality child care? A recent study demonstrates that the answer varies between providers and parents and is more complex than many of the measures states have in place. Key takeaways from focus groups with child care providers and parents of young children include:

  • Providers and parents both cite experienced staff as key to program quality. However, providers struggle to meet the demand for their services, largely because of challenges hiring and retaining qualified staff.
  • Due to limited care options, parents often make tradeoffs in their career and care situations. This leads parents to prioritize availability and affordability over quality.
  • Participants in the focus groups offered ideas on potential solutions, including increased support from government sources, which could benefit both parents and providers and lead to higher-quality care.

This article is part of a series produced by the Federal Reserve’s Early Care and Education Work Group that explores the cost, affordability, and racial equity issues in early care and education.

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