Family Child Care: Supporting Quality

Family Child Care: Supporting Quality


>>Ronna: Welcome to our webinar, my name is
Ronna Schaffer. I’m with the State Capacity Building Center Infant/Toddler
Specialist Networks, and I will be your moderator for today’s webinar. We’re so
glad you could join us for the Family Child Care Supporting Quality webinar,
which is part of our series for Virtual Infant/Toddler and School-Age Child
Care Institute. We invite you to ask questions to share your thoughts and
ideas in our chat pod, so please continue to do that. We’ll try to get you any
questions that you have as we move into our presentation and conversations today. Hopefully you have been able to join our
webinar kick-off that was on October 2nd, if not you will be able to get both the recording and the PowerPoint from that
session, as well as from today’s session at our Institute homepage which you’ll
see in the web link pod in the lower left corner of your screen. There are also
additional resources there that we’ll be mentioning today so feel free to
download those at your convenience. We will be referring to them from time to
time. So our format for today will be as if we
were doing it on a face-to-face conference, and we have a panel
discussion in just a moment. I’ll introduce you to all of our panelists
and our guest speaker. I want you to know that this will be interactive, there will be
many opportunities for you to give your thoughts and ideas both in this chat pod
and in special chat pods we’ll pull over throughout our webinar today. We’ll also
have a couple of polls that we hope you will be able to participate in. Also,
before you need to ask about a certificate, I’ll let you know that in a
few days you will be receiving an email from us with the link to the webinar and
also – that will include a certificate that you can print, a certificate of
attendance, excuse me, that you can print. There will also be a great opportunity for
some deeper discussions that I’ll talk about at the end of this webinar and
there will be a link provided for you to join us there. So at this time I am going
to invite my panelists and my colleagues to unmute and introduce
themselves. We’ll start with Michelle, Michelle are
you able to unmute? Either using star six or your unmute button on your phone.>>Michele: Hello, Ronna
can you hear me now?>>Ronna: Yes, Michele welcome.>>Michele: Thank you,
I’m Michele Adams a Technical Assistance Specialist at the National Center on
Early Childhood Quality Assurance.>>Ronna: Welcome Michelle, and Tina.>>Tina: Hi everyone
and welcome. I am Tina Jimenez with the State Capacity Building Center Infant/Toddler Specialist Network.>>Ronna: And Susan.>>Susan: Yes, good afternoon. This is
Susan O’Connor from the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment.
>>Ronna: Thank you everyone, and I also want to introduce you to our guest speaker Dr.
Juliet Bromer is a Research Scientist at the Herr Research Center,
Erickson Institute in Chicago. Her research over the last two decades has
focused on examining programs and systems that support the family
child care workforce and quality improvement.
So her collaborations with researchers and local, state, and federal policymakers
and quality improvement initiatives over the past two decades, she’s developed a
deep knowledge of the systems that shape the home-based child care landscape,
including subsidy, QRIS accreditation, and licensing. Currently she’s the principal
investigator of a multi-year national research initiative examining the
quality of support offered by family child care networks to home-based
child care providers. She also leads a new exploratory study on the decline of
family child care in four states. She has published numerous peer-reviewed
articles on home-based child care and served on several national research
advisory groups. In addition, Bromer has recently been named as a co-principal
investigator for a new project funded by OPRE, regarding home-based child care supply and a quality project.Bromer received her
MS in education from Bank Street College of Education and PhD in human
development from the University of Chicago. We are so delighted and pleased
and excited that Juliet is here to share her amazing knowledge with all of you.
And now that you know who we are, we are curious to know who you are. So you see
before you magically appearing, thank you Chandra, a poll.
Please take a moment to fill in your role as it pertained to work with
children and their families, if you have a role that isn’t listed here please
check other and you can put that in the chat pod at the bottom so we know who’s
here on our call. I’ll give you a moment to complete this. I see a lot of people putting in other
roles. It’s always hard to capture everything when we’re doing a poll so
thank you for completing this for us. I’ll give folks another moment or two. It looks like we have more people in
‘other roles’ than we have in the predetermined roles. I do see that about a third of you
on this call are state and agency staff from CCDF or licensing or
infant/toddler school-age specialist. I see a lot of folks that are from the
T&TA. The early childhood specialist, I see
that in our other roles. I also see a few of you have checked off here that,
the childcare resource and referral staff. I do see at least one family
child care provider, actually I think I see three family child care providers and
we are so delighted to have you be able to take some time out of your day and
join us. So it looks like we have everybody that would like to
weigh in and who they are, and we appreciate that and thank you so much.
We’ll move back to the presentation. Thank you everyone. So I’m gonna set the
stage a little bit for why we chose to do this topic Family Child Care
Supporting Quality as part of our Institute. Over the last decade the
landscape of home-based child care has shifted in two very important ways. The
first shift is the increasing focus and investment at the state and federal level on
promoting quality across early childhood education settings with QRIS in about 44
locations. Nationally 44 percent of eligible family
child care programs have obtained a quality rating. In addition, as part of
the 2014 Reauthorization of the Child Care Development Block Grant states and
territories are now required to implement health and safety requirements
for both licensed and licensed exempt home-based child care providers who
accept the subsidy. The second shift is a recent and steady decline in the number
of licensed family child care providers. Today you’ll have an opportunity to hear
from Dr. Bromer and our panelists who will discuss these shifts and consider
how we, as state-level policy makers, family child care network training and
technical assistance providers, and delivering high quality care for all
children with a special focus on infant and toddler to school-aged children. We are
also excited to hear from you about your experiences, there will be several
opportunities for you to share your experiences in the chat room and we
encourage you to do that. At this time before we begin I am going
to take a moment to introduce to you the Director of the Office of Child Care,
Shannon Christian. Shannon Christian serves
as the Director of the Office of Child Care at Health and Human Services,
Administration for Children and Families. She’s a former associate commissioner of
the former Child Care Bureau at ACF, where she advanced President Bush’s Good Start,
Grow Smart early childhood initiatives and shaped the office’s research agenda
to better support state policy and spending decisions. Committed to
effective prevention strategies Shannon oversaw the launch of Illinois’ home visiting
program and was an active board member of of Be Strong Families a Chicago
based national nonprofit. Earlier in her career,
Shannon was part of former Wisconsin and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson’s welfare
reform team serving as head of the planning section in the State Health and
Social Services Department office of policy and budget, and a senior adviser
to the Secretary of Workforce Development.
Shannon has an MPP from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a certificate in
nonprofit management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business,
and an undergraduate degree in economics and international relations from
California State University Chico. We’re delighted that Shannon is able to join
us and I know that she wants to say a few words of welcome, Shannon hopefully
you’re able to to unmute and can join us for a few words of welcome. Shannon are you able to unmute? Press
star six to unmute, we’d love to hear from you. Shannon, we’re working on new
to you because we’d love to hear from you. So I’m so sorry that we’re not able to
hear Shannon’s voice. We appreciate that she’s on our call and I know that she
she sends her warm welcome to all the participants of this call. So let’s begin
we’ll begin with Dr. Bromer. Juliet, can you tell us what your research has taught
you regarding the importance and the benefit of family child care as an option
for children and families? Seems like we’re having a little bit of
audio issues. Can we unmute Juliet so she can join up? I apologize for these audio issues
that were having just give us a moment and we will work on unmuting Dr. Bromer.>>Dr. Bromer: I’m excited to be here with everyone today and and
be part of this discussion so I thought we would start with just an overview of
the prevalence of what the National Survey of Early Care and Education
called home-based child care, which of course includes family child care. The reason we start with this because of all the sort of shifts and
things that Ronna talked about really the numbers of caregivers, providers, and
children and families that are in these settings is why we should be talking
about how to make these settings the best they can be for children. So
just an overview of some of the numbers. Okay, so we know from the National Survey
of Early Care and Education, which is the first nationally representative
data set that we have on home-based child care that there are over four
million home-based child care providers caring for more than seven million
children under age five. Now I just want to make a note about definitions, in the
National Survey they refer to listed and unlisted providers and they also
distinguish between providers who are paid and those are unpaid. Those who are
listed are those who appear on some sort of government list, and providers who are
unlisted do not appear on an existing publicly available list, but I’m going to
use the terms family child care and family friend a neighbor care today
because it’s simpler and they don’t completely map on to those categories,
but I think we can assume that most of those listed providers and those paid
providers are family child care providers, and that’s about 1 million out
of the 4 million. The rest are unpaid and really could be
considered family, friend, and neighbor providers and that’s about three million.
Okay, we also know that that the majority of infants
and toddlers who are in home-based child care including both in family
child care and in family, friend ,and neighbor care settings that they are
more likely to be infants and toddlers in these
settings than any other type of setting, certainly more than are in
centers. And we also know that as many school-aged children are in family
child care and family, friend, and neighbors care settings, as many as are in centers.
We also know that home-based child care providers are more likely to
be caring for children across the age range, that is mixed ages, which I know
we’re going to be talking a lot about today on today’s webinar. We also know
from the national survey data that home-based child care providers are more
likely than other types of settings, early care and education settings, to be
caring for children from families who are working non-standard, non traditional
hour jobs, as well as families living in rural areas, families who may have
children with special needs, families living in poverty. Okay, so today we’re
going to highlight some of the benefits. What have we learned from research about
some of the benefits of family child care for children and families, and I want to
preface this by saying that we have a very small research base on home-based
child care and so we don’t have that much to draw from, but what we do know is that
for children there are great opportunities in family child care, for
those one-on-one provider child interactions, response,
give them take interactions, that we know are at the heart of high quality care.
And I always like to say that high quality can happen in any setting, it’s
about that relationship on those adult-child interactions, and that can
happen in a living room, in the school building, in a family child care home. We
also know that continuity of care is such an important piece of what happens
in home-based child care where its one provider with child and the potential
for that care to happen over multiple years, and we have a growing research
base that that really is important for positive child outcomes. And we also
know there is less research on the stages, but there’s
potential for children learning from each other and building that community
as learners in family child care. For parents and families,
family child care has the potential to offer flexible hours and fees that can
accommodate parents non-standard work schedules, fluctuating paychecks, and
unpredictable hours. Mixed age groups can also allow siblings to be cared for
together under the same roof, and some parents may seek a linguistic and
cultural match in values and practices that family child care may offer. And then
finally for communities and we have very little research on this, but family
child care providers, those who are regulated and getting paid to do this
work are small business owners and they have the potential to serve as an
economic and social asset in their neighborhood and their community, and we
need to learn more about that role that they do play an important role in their
neighborhood in your community that ultimately does impact the families and
children that they see. Ronna, back to you.>>Ronna: Great, thank you so much Juliet. It’s so
important to really think about all of the benefits of family child care, and I
love that you included the community because that is another benefit as we’re
looking at the bigger picture, right. So we all feel that it’s so important to
hear from providers about their thoughts and ideas their successes, their
challenges in providing this really important model. So with this in mind the
State Capacity Building Center Infant Toddler Specialist Network, the National
Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment, along with National Center on
Early Childhood Quality Assurance partnered over the last few
years to convene several focus groups so we could hear the voices of the family
child care providers. Tina can you share with us a little bit about those focus
group participants.>>Tina: Certainly, Ronna. I’d be happy to do that. So our goal was to
learn how experienced family child care providers are able to meet the needs of
children in their mixed age group settings. We then wanted to take the
strategies that we heard from them and put those into a resource that could be
used by both family child care providers and the technical assistance specialists
who support providers to really address this challenge that providers face in
how to provide high quality care with a mixed age group setting.
We also wanted to learn what type of technical assistance and support
providers feel that they need, to improve quality in their family child care
settings, and we wanted to hear the providers perspective on the decrease in
licensed or regulated family child care. And you know typically when we do
develop a resource we would go to the subject matter experts, our team was very
quick to realize that the experts on this particular topic are the family
child care providers who do this work on a daily basis, who have figured out how
to make mixed age group works, as well as the technical assistance specialist who
support provider’s in doing this. So to ensure that this resource would be
meaningful and it would be relevant we drew upon the expertise of both of those
in groups. I think the most exciting thing about the voices from the field
briefs, which is currently under development and will be coming soon is
that it brings together the knowledge and experience of both family child care
providers and TA specialists in addressing how to promote high quality
family child care. I’ll share a little bit about that demographics of our focus
groups. So we conducted four focus groups between June 2018 and June 2019, a total
of 54 family child care providers representing 15 States participated in
those focus groups. Most participants that participated serve children from
birth to age 13. We made a real effort to recruit diverse providers for these
focus groups to attain regional diversity, focus groups were conducted in
Chicago, Illinois; Orlando, Florida; and in San Diego, California.
The Chicago and Orlando focus group were held during the National
Association of Family Child Care annual conferences to allow
for greater geographical diversity. Participant’s years of experience as a
licensed family child care provider ranged from 1 year to 37 years, while
although the majority of our providers had 10 or more years of experience.
Approximately 2/3 of our participants held a small family child care license,
with the remaining one-third of participants holding a large license,
sometimes referred to as a group tier, a family child care group hold license. The
education participants vary quite a bit, ranging from a high school diploma or
less to possessing or working on an advanced college degree, and focus
through participants were racially diverse. The San Diego focus group
participants were bilingual, bicultural, English, Spanish.>>Ronna: Thank you Tina for this
background of our focus group participants, we really appreciate
knowing about all of them. Juliet I’m wondering what you’ve learned about
why providers begin this work.>>Dr. Bromer: Yeah, so again I’m going to turn
to the national survey on early care and education because it’s really the
best source of understanding some of the characteristics of the home-based
child care workforce. And actually just an aside, a second round of NSECE has just
been completed, I believe 2019 survey and so it’s wonderful that we’ll have those
data to compare to the 2012 survey data, when those windows are publicly released.
So what deos the 2012 NSECE tell us about why providers do child care, and
here you can see that among, and this is just looking at those paid providers
both listed and unlisted, and again we think
that the paid listed providers are most likely to be those regulated family
child care providers but there’s a lot of overlap anyway.
Among those providers who are paid and listed close to half view their work as a
career or calling, personal call, while fewer reports that they do the work to
help out children or families. We also know that these listed paid providers
may have greater job tenure and attachment to the field, as you know, when we
hear a lot about these caregivers who have been doing this for a very long
time. On the other hand, more of the unlisted paid family child care
providers, so these may include more informal caregivers, report doing the
work primarily to help out families, and fewer report doing the work as a career
or to help children. Many of these caregivers who don’t participate in
public systems regulatory or quality may be caring for children on a temporary
basis, and they may not see this as a long-term career. Really what these data
tell us is there’s a lot of variation out there, and we need to learn more, we
sort of me to unpack these numbers and understand it better, especially for the
different types of providers and caregivers on the different contexts in
which they’re working. Back to you Ronna.>>Ronna: Thank you Juliet, and Tina I’m going to
turn back to you because I know we also asked this question in our focus groups
about why they enter the field.>>Tina: Yes thank you Ronna. So the most common reason that
providers identify for becoming a family child care provider was to stay at home
with their own child or their own children, or they also
identified that they entered the field to care for children of friends or
relatives. Several providers mentioned that their own child has special needs
and they were unable to find suitable care for their child
that was another motivation for entering the field. Other providers said that they
wanted to own their own business, and that they viewed family child care as a
professional career choice matching what Dr. Bromer just shared with us. And some
participants shared that they started off by providing family, friend, and
neighbor care, or unlicensed care and then they transitioned to becoming a
family child care provider.>>Ronna: Thank you for that information Tina. It is very
parallel to what Juliet just shared with us, but certainly hearing it from the
voices of the practitioners in the field is really great and they even elaborated
a bit on what the research has shown. But we also know that recently there’s been
a decline in the number of family child care providers and with that in
mind we know that the National Center for Early Childhood Quality Assurance
has published a report entitled Addressing the Decreasing Numbers of
Family Child Care Providers in the United States and there’s a link for that in
your web link download pod. I’m gonna turn now to Michele Adams from the
National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance to talk to us a little
bit about that brief.>>Michele: Thanks Rona. Yes you’re right we do know that the number
of family child care homes, those licensed and licensed exempt, have steadily fallen
over the last 12 years the data that you see in this graph comes from licensing
agency data that was reported by States in our child care licensing study.
Information was collected in 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2017. In the survey states
report information on two categories of family child care homes.
Family child care homes, small family child care homes where one person
provides child care services as a sole caregiver,
and large family child care homes were two or more people provide child care
service. The graph shows us the changes in the number of licensed child care
facilities between 2005 and 2017 if we look at the blue line at the top it
shows a drop in the overall number of licensed centers and homes, a loss of
almost 95,000 facilities. The overall decrease is due primarily to a steep
decline and the number of small family child care homes that’s shown in the
second line in gold, it shows that the number of these homes fell by 48 percent. The
bottom line reflects a smaller decrease of 21 percent in the number of large
family child care, family care homes with two or
more caregivers, and the dark green line at second from the bottom
reflects a slight increase of 2 percent in the overall number of licensed child care
centers. So the drop in the number of family child care providers can be a
hardship for families especially those more likely to use family child care,
those that Juliet pointed out. In their survey responses, respondents
said an increase in regulations and the economy were some reasons for the
decrease, and they also mentioned that many providers were aging and retiring.
Other factors reported included low enrollment, changing demographics, and
increase provider requirements. The number of family
providers receiving CCDF subsidy payments has also decreased, this table
reflects data from the Administration on Children and Families, and it shows the
number of family child care providers receiving CCDF subsidy payments in
federal fiscal years 2011 and 2017, since not all providers take subsidy payments
these providers would be a subset of the providers that we show in the previous
slide, but when we compare the numbers shown here we see in the top row that
the number of all child care providers receiving subsidy payments decreased by
44 percent from 2011 to 2017, and in the middle row we see this drop has been
particularly steep for licensed exempt family child care providers receiving
subsidy at 62 percent, and in the bottom row we see the number of licensed small and
large family child care providers receiving subsidy payments has also
decreased by 36 percent to combine the numbers of lost license exempt and licensed
family child care homes receiving subsidy funding between 2011 and 2017. We
see an overall loss of over 172,000 family child
care providers, and of course fewer licensed family child care providers
across the country, and the reduction in the number of providers who care for
subsidized children, those license and license exempt providers, means that
families receiving CCDF support have far fewer options for child care. The reasons for the falling numbers are
not the same in every community, contributing factors most commonly
identified though in anecdotal information that we received from States
and providers tells us that some of the challenges that family child care
providers face are also some of the reasons that they share for leaving the
profession, including long work hours, low or unpredictable income, and lack of
benefits, a lack of business expertise, declining enrollment, and increased
competition, rising cost of housing, and insurance, and zoning restrictions. Tina I
know that you’ve talked with the focus group participants about this same topic.
What did they share about why they may be leaving the fields?>>Tina: Yes, yeah thanks
Michele, thanks so much for sharing that information. You know I found it really
interesting that our focus group participants did not specifically
mention some the challenges, such as long hours or a lack of benefit, but because we
know that these are challenges, what focus group participants did share
with us and what they did identify were zoning restrictions as a
barrier to opening and operating family child care programs, as well as the fees
that are associated with operating a business, such as the cost of a business
permit or a business license. They also mentioned the increased paperwork due to
requirements and multiple agencies and increased licensing requirements. Finally,
our participants identified a challenge in declining enrollment, which makes it
difficult for them to stay in business. So many providers shared that they have
lost children to programs such as Early Head Start or subsidized preschool.>>Ronna: Thank you for that information Tina, and
I see that Lisa in the chat pod is discussing some of the reasons that
she’s familiar with as well. Which brings us to our next chat pod that were hoping
that you can all share with us a bit of information about what you’re seeing
about why providers are leaving the field. So Lisa you started it in the
first chat pod, but I’ll ask you to move over to this chat pod, and I’ll invite
everybody to enter some of the things that they are hearing, they’re seeing, as
they work in in their communities and in their states. So I’ll give people a few
moments to add this thought. I hope you can all see this in case
there are some people on the phone I’ll try to read a few of them. I probably
won’t be able to read them all to you, but I’ll read some. We hear retirement is
one, licensing regulations, I think we’re gonna see that in a lot of these,
providers don’t feel the compensation is worth the effort, planning and zoning
challenges, low enrollment; these are all things that we heard, absolutely. Once the
children are grown they decide to go to a different occupation with more
reasonable hours. I see more they’re aging out of the
profession, we hear that a lot and that is so concerning, so if people are aging
out we need to think about how we can get some new young people into this
field, right. The infant sleep regulations, low reimbursement, lack of supports with
difficult behavior, that’s a significant issue that we hear as well. It’s
important Mary Beth is saying, hi Mary Beth, is saying that it’s important to
think about the difference between leaving the field and leaving the
regulated system, such a really great point, and maybe as I mentioned we’ll
have an opportunity next week and I’ll tell you more about that, to delve more
deeply into some of this and I’m hoping that might be one of the things we
really talk about is on people becoming unregulated. So I’m just going to give
one more moment for people to weigh in on this, I really hope that you’ll join
our conversation next week where we can go a little more deeply into these
thoughts and ideas. So I see a couple more people writing I’m just going to
give it like just a few more seconds and then we’ll move back to our presentation. Thank you so much to everybody for weighing in on this
really important piece. I’m looking forward to reading through all of this
and summarizing it for our conversation next week. So Chandra will you take us
back to the presentation please, thank you. So I’m gonna move now back to Juliet.
Juliet I know that your research has told us quite a bit about the challenges that
family child care providers are facing and some of these challenges may be
contributing to the decreasing numbers, can you share with us what you’ve
learned in your research.>>Dr. Bromer: Sure thanks Ronna. So we’ve learned and we’re learning more, and as Ronna mentioned earlier on
my colleague Toni Porter from Early Care and Education Consulting in New York and
I have a new study where we’re looking at some of the factors behind the
decline in four states, and in that study we are really seeking to get the
provider voice, so we are focusing on talking to providers about their reasons
for leaving and so we’ve been really thinking a lot about this. But I’m going
to share now some qualitative and just some broad findings from research
about the challenges, which you already know because they’ve all been mentioned,
but I’ll just give them a little more context, maybe. So isolation and
working conditions, this had just been you know noted in across studies, we just
know it from the field, anecdotally, these are long hours that providers
work. We know that from the national survey actually, more than 60 hours a
week in some cases and I’m going to show you, I have some quotes here from our
recent national survey of family child care networks, where we talked to
directors of networks about what they see as the challenges that providers
face, and so here’s the director who says “they’re just so isolated a lot of
times they don’t have adult interaction and everybody
needs that.” And so that is a challenge of the work itself. A second challenge is
role burden and I’m gonna put the quote up here because I have heard this a
version of this quote so many times from directors, from family childcare
providers, themselves this director says, “the provider is the administrator, the
teacher, the activity planner, the driver, the cook.” I’ve heard many many versions
of that over the years and it’s true family child care providers often manage
multiple roles. Multiple roles in the child care itself, right, so they really
are the family support specialists, they are the curriculum person, they are the
business person, they are the nurturer, they are the teacher, they are all
those things, but they also may have additional responsibilities. They may be
caring for an elderly family member, they maybe have other caregiving
responsibilities in their home, and we know that many home based child care
providers actually hold down other jobs just to make ends meet, in addition to
taking care of children. Okay, a third challenge that we’ve learned about is
limited access to information and resources, and this is
particularly I think become something we want to pay attention to as more and
more professional development and training resources and system standards
and requirements go online. So many providers have limited access to
reliable internet in their homes, remember they’re not looking out of an
office, they’re working in a home and they may not have a great internet
service and they rely on their mobile devices to access information and we all
know how frustrating and difficult that can be. So this was an area I think to
pay attention to. Here’s again one of our network directors in our study said you
know that they just need information, basic information about how to care for
children in their home. So this network director said, “…trying to understand the
child’s emotions on how to work with the child …there are a lot of
what do I do when she won’t stop crying? Why is he biting? Please help us connect
with these children.” So that quote is sort of haunting because it just points to
the sort of the great need and desire for knowledge that’s out there, and how
do we how do we get that knowledge and support into the homes where
it can help these these caregivers. And then finally caring for mixed age
groups and we’re going to talk a little bit more about that, but as we know
family child care is mixed age group care, and yet that can be challenging and
we have very little research on this. Our standards and our systems really are not
do not reflect mixed age care. So you know we have an early
care and education system, licensing standards, QRIS is that really is developed from a kind of single age classroom; age segregated, and
so this is challenging both it’s challenging in the work itself, it’s
challenging to take care of a baby, a toddler, and a schoolager who comes
home at three o’clock, and maybe wakes up someone who’s napping ,and it’s also
challenging to figure out how you fit into the bigger circle. And here’s
just another quote really about the general challenges of being a family
child care provider this director says, “it takes a strong person to be able to open
your doors at 6:00 a.m., sometimes going in till midnight taking in one ,two, three
children of varying needs and abilities. Oh my goodness, everything. You’re mopping,
you’re cooking, you’re changing diapers, your providing experiences and activities.” So
I want to also just share some findings from some other research, again
from our national study of family child care networks where we identified a
hundred and fifty six networks across the country in 38 states, and one of the
things we asked in our survey was what kinds of training they offer to family
child care providers, and while most network directors reported that they
offer some training on the stages or they may mention that topic in the
training, fewer than half reported that their staff, who work with providers have
themselves received training on how to work with mixed ages, and that’s really
important because that’s where a lot of support happens, that’s where a lot of
professional development happens in family child care is through technical
assistance in the home. So if that technical assistance person doesn’t
understand the stages or is only a specialist on infants and toddlers
they’re not going to be able to necessarily help that provider think about, ‘well, how
do I know include the school-ager and the preschool or while I
have the baby in my lap.’ So sort of something to keep in mind. In another
study we did a statewide survey of child care resource and referral agency staff,
who work with family child care again, we found that less than a third reported
talking about mixed ages with family child care, and even fewer reported that
they offered any kind of focused training on this topic. So again pointing
to some of the challenges of the work but also sort of the challenges in our
field, and that leads me to this really last point that I want to make, which is
the system challenges, and we really think that this may be one of the
reasons that providers are leaving and it’s been mentioned and it was mentioned
in the in the chat box that everyone just typed into you. But navigating these
and participating in regulatory and quality systems such as
licensing, subsidy, and QRIS is very challenging for many family child care
providers, they face confusing and often conflicting requirements. The paperwork
burden can be enormous, technology as I mentioned as a barrier, sometimes
requirements standards are not in providers first language, and I cannot
emphasize enough low reimbursement rates as a challenge in this field. If we don’t
pay attention to reimbursement rates, providers are living in
poverty, and the reimbursement rates don’t lift them out of that, and so that’s
something that’s really important. And here are just some quotes from our network study this director is talking about paperwork she says, “we’ve
had providers who said it’s just way too much paperwork… and they’re thinking
about not staying in and continuing to do the work with subsidized families
because they just don’t think it’s cost-efficient and at such difficult
work.” And then here’s another director talking about the low reimbursement
rates, “there’s the low rate, and the transactional parts that are so
complicated and so hard it is really breaking the back and frankly driving a
lot of people out who have a heart and the desire to take care of kids. I think
you’re moving to more underground child care providers.” And that’s to the point
that was brought up just a few minutes ago that I know y’all be discussing in
your future webinars, but I think you know really it’s time to think about how
our systems, what role I systems are playing in shaping the
supply of family child care, and I will just say that Toni and I do have a
report coming out with some of this more qualitative data, so look for that
that. Back to you Ronna.>>Ronna: We will definitely look for that Juliet. The report that
you and Toni have done have been so informative, I look forward to reading
all of that when it when it’s completed and published. So one of the things I
heard you say, and you said so much that that really resonated with me, but one of
the things that I heard you say was that one of the challenges that providers
face is meeting the needs of children in mixed age group, and I see in our
chat pod that Lisa is also talking about what training there is out there for
helping providers be able to do that. So we’re going to move to that a
little bit now and talk some about what we’ve heard in
our focus groups and and what we know about mix age groups. So at this point
I’m going to turn it to Susan, and ask Susan to talk a little bit about some
of the general strategies that we heard in the focus group about working with
children in mixed age groups. So Susan can you help us out here.>>Susan: Yeah Ronna, I’m
very happy to take some time here to share out the valuable ideas that the
providers shared with us during the focus groups and these strategies
emerged out of their you know multiple years of experience. So in our review of
the strategies they shared we found that the strategies fell into about six major
buckets that reflect the categories that you see up on the screen, and so I want
to just give a summary and some highlights from these strategies. Under
the general strategies they talked about the importance of keeping group size
small and staying below licensing ratios when possible or perhaps solving the
problem by adding another staff person or a volunteer to increase the capacity
for more one-on-one attention or to increase their capacity to do more
age-appropriate activities. Secondly to use a family model with older children
helping younger children on occasion. Also keeping children together because
in mixed age groups children learn from each other and learn to help one another.
Perhaps the most important idea shared under the category of environment and
materials is to select materials that can be used in different ways and by
different age groups. There could be dramatic play materials and puppets that are used by all ages but in different ways obviously, or
by providing the same activity like drawing but with a range of different
age-appropriate materials, an activity like
drawing with a range of materials like crayons for toddlers and pastels for
school-aged children. Most providers mentioned the importance of having
shelving or storage that can promote accessibility and safety. For routines
and schedules many providers suggested a family-like and flexible schedule that can
change as infant/toddlers needs shift, and this way the schedule can be built
around meeting needs of infants and toddlers, their nap times, their diapering,
their feeding schedule to determine when to plan quieter activities or outdoor
play or activities where the older children can be involved independently.
One of the most important strategies that providers mentioned is to build
engaging curriculum by talking to families and speaking directly to the
older children to learn about and build on children’s interests. The activities
in a mixed age group can reflect overlapping interests and independent
activities, and interest areas can reflect different individual interests.
So we’ve mentioned before that older children can be great as a leader of
connectivity and if we’re tapping what they’re really passionate about or have
a special interest or skill in they’re going to be more effective in providing
that peer leadership role. Family child care providers in our focus
groups also talked about the importance of tapping community resources they use
their local libraries; they have memberships to places like nature parks
and water parks; they seek out help from volunteer organizations, like churches,
like youth organizations; and of course they keep a list of community supports
for parents so they can make timely referrals. And finally they also talked
about the importance of building relationships with families by building
trust, as two providers explained we work on having a relationship with parents
and building parents trust so that they will come to us for advice. The last
category is planning and preparation, and this was mostly focused on the
importance of preparing things ahead of time, as Juliet shared we had the quote
of the person that starts out at 6 o’clock and we know that providers are
working 50 hours a day so when does this planning and prep, and it’s got to happen
ahead of time. And they said to be sure to consider pick-up and drop-off times,
prepare meals ahead, prepare curriculum materials ahead. And Ronna I’ll turn it back
to you.>>Ronna: Thank you for this overview we heard so
much wonderful information from the focus groups, and we also in the focus groups really talked
about some of the specific challenges that family child care providers were
having, and we focused on first, infant and toddler challenges. So Tina
can you tell us a bit about what we heard regarding the challenges specific
to caring for infants and toddlers?>>Tina: Yes Ronna, I’m happy to do that. So one of
the most common challenges that were was identified by the focus group
participants was how to provide responsive, individualized care, and
one-on-one attention for infants and toddlers while you’re simultaneously
trying to meet the needs of the older children in the group. So for example how
do you engage in responsive interactions, like serve and return during a diaper
change or while you’re feeding an infant when you’re also responsible for
supervising and engaging with the other children and that can be a real
challenge as we know. So to address this challenge we collected strategies from
technical assistance providers and they identified, they have quite a few
suggestions you can see some of those suggestions in the upcoming briefs that
will be coming out, but I’ll just highlight one of them for you today. They
suggested that the family child care providers plan activities for older
children to engage in during infant toddler routines. So by pre-planning
activities to bring out and introduce when you know that you are doing a
diaper change or you’re going to be feeding an infant you can reduce the
need to have to rush through that important child care routine, and as we
all know of course those routines are of course the curriculum for infants and
toddlers. Providers also shared concerns about teaching infant space and allowing
freedom of movement while older children are
engaging and more active curriculum, such as music and movement or engaging a
large motor play. In response to that challenge TA specialists again offered
multiple strategies including arranging the environment to ensure ease of
supervision and because family child care providers often use multiple rooms in
caring for children that can be a bit of a challenge, however it does present an
opportunity for coaches and providers to think about
how they might accomplish that with a unique family child care environment that
the provider is working within. And finally our focus group participants
shared behavioral challenges related to the over stimulation of infants and
toddlers. It’s really important for providers to understand that typically
the younger the child the less stimulation they can effectively handle.
We know that this can be a challenge in a mixed age group setting. So to address
this challenge our TA providers shared strategies to minimize over stimulation
by creating a calm and peaceful environment, which would benefit all
children in the program and they really wanted to emphasize that. A really
important thing that TA providers can do is help family child care providers
recognize the signals of over stimulation and then adapt their
interactions and the environment in response to infants cues.
>>Ronna: Thank You Tina, I think all the points you brought up are so important and
and I wish we had time to spend hours and hours talking about this, again this
can be something we delve a little more deeply into on our follow-up
conversation next week, but now I’m going to turn it back to Susan who’s going to
tell us a little bit about what we heard regarding meeting the needs of
school-aged children.>>Susan: Thanks, Ronna. The first thing to consider
really in supporting school-aged children in family child care is that
they represent a very broad developmental age range, and so we’re
going to need to plan differently within these age groups. So I usually think of
three different age groupings for school age five to six year olds, they’re
transitioning really from preschool to school-age, they might arrive at a family
child care home meeting a nap or at least some downtime, they like a clear and
predictable schedule. The seven to nine year olds really like to select their
activity choices and they enjoy hands-on discovery activities, working in groups,
and they really like to build a new skill over time. The ten to twelve year
olds are of course pre-adolescent and they’re going to want increased
independence time with their peers and they’re ready for increased
responsibilities. Family child care providers said that is sometimes
challenging to meet the needs of school-aged children. They’ve found that
if school-agers aren’t fully engaged they may be disruptive. A key to
increasing engagement of school-age children is to focus on increasing their
voice and their choice in developing activities. For them research certainly
shows that by increasing voice and choice for school-aged children they’re
going to be more engaged, they will show improved self management, they will take
more initiative, and they have an improved sense of confidence.
Family child care providers can find out what children want to learn and do
through simple conversations, talking with their
families, direct surveys for the children, or introducing them to new activities to
learn where their passions are. As we get to know each child and increase their
engagement we can identify the right balance between mixed age group
activities where they might take a helper role and independent activities
where they can pursue their own interests and passions. It helps to plan
these activities ahead of time and create opportunities where a child can
pursue an activity with limited assistance. A provider can do this by
creating activity stations that relate to children’s current interest, or the
voices from the field brief which will be coming out in a while includes web
links for a lot of independent activity ideas like community service or
project-based learning or ideas on science art and math and book lists by
interest areas. Many focus group participants said they found it
particularly challenging to provide homework support especially in the late
afternoon when younger children that they’re working with may be tired or
during family pick-up time, yet families often want their provider to set a
priority for homework support. The key is going to be really for providers to
create an approach that is realistic for them and responsive to families, that
take into account families pressures around doing homework at home. So if the
provider doesn’t have the time they may work to create an approach that’s a
balance. Perhaps they could bring on a high school or college student or
retired teachers to volunteer with homework support. At the least provider
can create a quiet space and needed materials so children can work
independently to complete as much of their homework as they can, and even if a
provider can’t support homework at all school
success can certainly be supported by providing just 20 minutes of sustained
silent reading. Ronna, back to you.>>Ronna: Thank you again, great information.
I know that we could talk about this for a long period of time and we will next
week for those of you who can join us. So I’m gonna turn it back now to Juliet. We
talked here a bit about some of the challenges and now let’s move to some of
the strategies that we learned can really help support family child care
providers. So Juliet, why don’t you wanted to start
us off with this.>Dr. Bromer: So just broadly in our review of, again small body of research,
on strategies that support home-based child care providers and we were really
looking at what those high quality support look like and we’ve done a
comprehensive literature review and a model and all that, if you want that
you can I can send it to you, but some of the things that we identified from the
literature as being most likely to support quality in home-based child care
is coaching and home visiting and mentoring, right. That one-on-one help in the provider’s home, but it’s especially effective when combined with
training. So we know from the research that training workshops alone
on strategies to work with kids may not be enough, that training
content combined with someone helping you put it into practice, that really
makes a difference. So the to what extent are we really
linking our training offerings that so many providers participate in, to
more tailored and customized TA. Qualified staff, I’ll just say that the
quality of support is only as good as the staff who deliver, so support services and
that it takes a set of knowledge and skill to work the family child care
providers they have to understand the unique distinct features of family
child care, that it is not a classroom and they need to understand how to develop
sort of professional relationships because quality improvement only happens
in context of strong relationships. As
we have learned that across fields and it applies in this field as well. Sustainability supports, we talked a little bit about that today not
much but those business practices are really important. I’ll just say that if
the provider cannot keep her door open in the morning to welcome children and
families then it doesn’t matter what quality of care she’s offering. I
think we can think broadly about sustainability, so it’s those business
and administrative practices for those four are regulated more professionalized
family child care providers that even for family, friend, and neighbor care
givers, it’s that what’s the providers own well-being and
you know how is she doing because she is the programmer and she is the caregiver
and what does it take to look at providers, such what does our workforce need in order to sustain this work, right, in order to sustain themselves
so that they can offer high-quality care. And then the other thing I’m going
to share a little bit about is on peer support, we don’t know enough
about peer support I saw someone mentioned it in the chat box but we’re
learning more and more that peer support can both reduce that isolation that’s
such a challenge in family child care, but can also that providers are experts
about what they do and I think we just sort of missed the boat there,
like there’s just a huge opportunity to leverage incredible expertise that’s out
there, and what happens when you create opportunities for providers to get
together in structured setting to share and solve problems and
strategize together around care of children. I think it can be very exciting
and this is just a very small example from our network study. It’s an
example of how a network used home visiting, which they have home
visitors who go in but they used it in a tailored approach. So this
director talked about a provider struggling with mixed ages, and so they
decided in one week to do this really intensive home visiting. They went in
for a whole day trying to figure out the environment of this
team and then they came back a few days in a row trying to help the provider who
had really a new business care and wasn’t really trying to redo her routine
and figure out how to manage. So just an example of how short-term home-visiting
might be used in a more intensive way. Now again this and strategies I’m gonna
show on my next slide we don’t have a lot of research evidence that this leads to a
certain set of outcomes, but it’s something we want to know more about. We need a lot of innovation in that field because we don’t have a
strong research base, we need to identify those promising strategies that then we
can study more. And speaking of promising strategies these two slides have some
examples from a project we just are finishing up at Erickson, where we
piloted the breakthrough series Collaborative, which is the quality
improvement method from health sciences that involves rapid cycle
testing, and our collaborative focus on supporting providers to work with
toddlers in mixed age groups. And the family child care network teams strategized and and innovated all year around
technical assistance and home visiting and peer support. And we
generated all of these exciting strategies, like helping providers
observe and plan using video for observation of toddler behavior to help
them think about how to plan for next stages. Some of the peer support strategies
are really cool, having providers visit each other’s homes to learn about
environments for mixed-ages. Initiating providers led text groups; Facebook pages
where providers go on on a weekly basis, saying hey can anyone help me solve this
problem; and providers brainstorming and posting pictures and videos about
how they do mixed-ages ages. Communities of practice there’s a really promising
strategy that some of you are probably using in your states and communities. So
you get the ideas that have been generated from some of the work we’ve
been doing that we need to learn more about and we can understand how the
potential here for improving quality. Okay, Ronna. >>Ronna: Thank you Juliet. We do have a
question that I want to very briefly take a moment. Roxanne has asked if the
home visiting that you’re discussing is the traditional sense used with parents
and children?>>Dr.Bromer: I’m so glad you asked that question, and I was aware as I was saying
is that I needed to sort of back up and define. We don’t have good definitions in
in our early care and education field and especially in family child care about
what we want to call it when someone from an agency comes in to a family
child care home to help her work with children and families and her business.
The field calls it coaching, mentoring, technical assistance, and home visiting
there are very few examples out there of home visiting agencies using home
visiting curricula from the home visiting with parents world, but it is
something that, actually my colleague he’s a
home visiting researcher, have been really interested in, like what are the
parallels I know there’s a new brief out on home visiting and family
child care from Child Trends, and something we need to learn more about. Home
visiting and child care are very siloed and I think there’s a
lot of things we can learn from the home visiting world about how to do this
professional development in homes more effectively with providers. I mean
there’s obviously big differences so when I say home everything I am talking
just about someone going into a home. I’m not talking about an actual curriculum
or program.>>Ronna: Thank you for that clarification Juliet. I know there’s a
lot of chat in the chat room about home visiting programs and I’m going to let
that continue in the chat room as we continue on with with our presentation
here because we are coming towards the end. I do want to take just a couple of
moments to bring over another chat pod though, to ask what additional strategies
have all of you out there found. So we’ve got two chat pods here the first one is,
as as training and technical assistance
specialist what strategies have you used to support family child care providers,
specifically around working in mixed age group? And for those of you who are
providing a direct care of children, or the family child care providers there’s
a chat pod on the right we hope you’ll add some of your strategies in
supporting those children in your care. So we’re just going to take a couple of
minutes to get a few ideas in here, unfortunately we can’t spend a lot of
time on this but it’ll just get us started really thinking about these it
really important strategies. Billie, I love your strategy divide and
conquer, something I used to think about a lot when I was providing direct care. We have a lot about coaching, collaborating with
associations. Lisa shares that Colorado is piloting a curriculum for family child
care homes this fall that will benefit provided by reassuring in the infants
and toddlers are having good experiences, that sounds wonderful Lisa. We’ll have to
connect to learn more about that. I see that Andrew was saying regular visits,
coaching with identified providers, and teaming to support the needs of others.
Annual conferences, more about peer support. Great strategies to build
on what Juliet has shared to us. I am going to move us back to the
presentation now, thank you. I’m gonna come turn it back to Juliet again, who’s
going to share a little bit about what they’ve learned and their are new report
on the conceptual model for quality and home-based child care. So Juliet would you
share a little bit about this?>>Dr. Bromer: Sure just real quick. This brief is
available and I know there’ll be a link to it in follow-up communication. To
address questions about quality improvement we really
need in our field to understand the distinct and unique features of
home-based child care quality to help us better design standard system supports.
So Child Trends convened a group of experts to develop a conceptual model
that could be…>>Ronna: Did we lose you Juliet? are you still with us?>>Dr. Bromer: I am so sorry
that was my cat.>>Ronna: We understand, I’m glad you were still with us.>>Dr. Bromer: Yes
so anyway, convened a group of researchers to to develop a model a
contextual model of quality for home-based child care and there are
really three pillars or components of quality that we identified. One is
foundations, the sustainability of care these are really seen as the precursors
to quality, the environment, the providers own well-being; community business
practices. The middle component is lasting relationships, that continuity of
care that we’ve talked about throughout this webinar that we know lead to
positive outcomes for children, children’s relationships with each other,
provider-family relationships, relationships with the community. And
then the third sort of pillar or components of quality and home-based
child care is what we call opportunities for learning and development, and this is
really about the that there are available materials, resources in a
familiar and authentic environment that is culturally relevant to children’s
experiences that providers really build on and capitalize on the everyday and
familiar. That is what is so special about home-based child care is in a
family setting and that we really want to understand that more and highlight. I
will say that this model is really just a starting point for future
research program development and actually in the new OPRE project on
home-based child care supplying quality we’re going to be building this model
out even further.>>Ronna: That’s very exciting Juliet, thank
you for that we’ll definitely be looking forward to that the moment
it’s out we’ll make sure that everybody gets a copy of it because it sounds like
it’s going to be so helpful, and and now I’m going to turn back to Tina for just
a couple of minutes to share with us a little bit about what we’ve heard from
providers that they are looking for regarding some support.>>Tina: Sure, thanks Ronna. So not surprisingly
a lot of what providers shared with us was a very close match to what Dr. Bromer
shared just a few minutes ago. Many of our participants identified the need for
provider to provider mentoring. This was a very high priority by the majority of
our focus group participants. They also requested training that are specific and
tailored to family child care providers, providers told us that they also feel
left out of early childhood training and professional development opportunities
that are really developed and designed for center based programs. participants
wanted coaches and trainers to have experience in respect for and knowledge
of family child care and what makes it unique. A cohort and hybrid training
were identified as desirable by most of our participants, participants expressed
an interest in training topics that they felt were relevant to family child care
providers, and that included working with mixed age groups. Specific ideas for
working with school-aged children and for working with infants and toddlers,
trainings on parent engagement and training focused on
implementation of curriculum in the family child care settings. They also were
in complete agreement about the need for funding to be able to provide
high-quality care for their children, they specifically identified a
need for scholarships to enable them to go back to school, for grants to help
with remodeling equipment and purchasing supplies and materials,
incentives and stipends that can help them purchase curriculum materials, and funds
for professional development, such as training, college classes, or CDA
application or accreditation.>>Ronna: Thank You Tina. That was a very
quick overview I see in the chat box that a lot of people are really agreeing
with some of the pieces that they heard here. So we’ve heard so much information
today, I wish we had a lot more time to go into this even more. Before we go into
our final ending, I did want to ask Juliet just to very briefly talk to us a
little bit about some of the systems level support that she has
found to be helpful.>>Dr. Bromer: Okay so yeah, so I think we just trying to keep in mind, a
lot of this we’ve touched on that there are so many systems and policies and
programs that include family child care or have the potential to include family
child care. At the federal level of course we have CCDBG and reauthorization and you
know the states are figuring out how to do this, and so that’s we’ve talked about
that I’m not gonna spend a lot of time on that. But the food program, some other
points of contact the food program requires three visits a year in
family child care homes so thinking about how to make the most out of those visits,
right. Thinking about all the ways that our providers do connect with
systems and support, and taking a new look maybe at how some of these supports
are implemented. At the highest level of practices is the Early Head Start and
Head Start and Migrant Head Start partnerships because these programs can
be offered through family child care providers, and so thinking about how to
go about that, how to improve that, how to understand it. At the state level of
course we have licensing, QRIS, thinking about those standards
we’ve talked before touched on this today but do those regulations look
licensing regulations make sense for family child care. What are the barriers?
What’s not working? Did QRIS actually reflect the realities
of family child care homes? Where do family child care fit? Universal pre-k,
this is something we do not know really anything about in family child care, but
there are many states and communities around the country who are starting to
use mixed delivery systems and deliver pre-k through family child care, and I
believe this was really an access and an equity issue because if a provider
can offer pre-k through her family child care home she won’t lose those 3
and 4 year olds, that makes her go out of business. The families get continuity of
care there’s just so many benefits. So it’s really something to think about. Then finally and this is been mentioned in the chat box and elsewhere that we
really need to pay more attention to local zoning laws and small business
rules. I know those came up in the focus groups
but it’s again something we don’t talk enough about, the providers talk about it
though they know about it but it may be something that’s driving people out.>>Ronna: So
so much talk about Juliet, so much to think about. I think maybe this
webinar could have been twice as long as we get a time for right, so much. So as
we are closing because we just have a couple minutes. I do want to bring your
attention to what I’ve mentioned a few times is the breakout discussion session
that we are conducting next week, you see the information here on the screen,
in your follow-up email that you get with a web link you will also get this
information. So next week we are offering opportunities to go deeper into some of
these conversations, you do not have to pre-register. The link for that Adobe
room is here on the screen and we will be sending it out to you in a follow-up
email very soon. We hope you can join us, we’ll take a look at some of the
questions in your chat pods and we will really delve more deeply into those next
week. We have a time for infants and toddlers
focus, a time for school-aged focus, and you’re invited to participate in either
one or both of those, and finally I just want to bring your attention to the next
two webinars. You see those here, you can register for those on the Institute
homepage. The web link is down here in our pod, and before you go we’re hoping
you’ll take a moment to respond to three very brief questions. We
really spend a lot of time looking at your feedback, really thinking about your
responses to these questions, and it really helps us with our continuous
quality improvement. So please take a moment before we sign off to answer
these few questions, give us some ideas on other topics that might be of
interest to you, and I’ll give you a moment to do that before I end with a
few closing remarks. Thank you so much for your responses.
We’ll move back to the presentation for just a few closing things that I wanted
to mention. So as you can see we or you will see when you get your PowerPoint
there are some additional resources to what we have in the pod, but I really
wanted to spend just a moment thanking you Juliet for all of you
amazing information. I wanted to thank the National Center on Early Childhood
Quality Assurance for your collaboration in this with the State Capacity Building
Center and the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment. We also
really want to say a special thank you the National Association for family
Child Care and the YMCA child care resource services from San Diego County,
California who helped us to organize our focus group, and huge shout out to all of
the participants of those focus groups who lent their voice and to this
conversation which is so critical. So I want to thank you all for participating,
somebody did ask if we get any certificates yes you will get a
certificate and the follow up email. Thank you all so much for your time and
your energy and for all the great work that you do for children and their
families. Thank you so much. Hopefully we’ll talk to you next week.

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