A newly-released report from Morrison Downs Associates, Inc. emphasizes All Our Kin’s impact while examining current efforts and future opportunities to support and enhance the quality of family child care across the state. The report, “A Snapshot of the Family Child Care Landscape in Connecticut,” was commissioned by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood through a grant to All Our Kin.
The report’s findings are based on interviews with over 25 stakeholders in the early childhood community and on quantitative evidence from the Connecticut Department of Social Services, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, and other sources.
According to the report, interviewees shared several concerns regarding the limitations of current program capacity. Among their concerns was the limited ability of current programs to reach family child care providers; interviewees estimated that existing local and state organizations and programs only reach roughly 25% of the state’s licensed family child care providers. Interviewees also identified the limited availability of in-program quality enhancement supports as an obstacle. In Connecticut, only a few programs, including All Our Kin and Southside Family Center, have the capacity to provide ongoing, in-program coaching and support. Another shared concern was the low compensation for family child care providers, which is due, in part, to the fact that there has not been a rate increase in Care4Kids for eleven years.
There are many system-building initiatives underway at the state level with the potential to greatly impact Connecticut’s family child care landscape. These initiatives include the creation of the Office of Early Childhood, the implementation of a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), the development of Early Learning and Development Standards and a Core Knowledge and Competency Framework, and the work of the CSEA-SEIU Local 2001 to unionize family child care providers.
Ongoing professional development efforts also may affect family child care providers and the quality of their care. These efforts include training and technical assistance for family child care providers in the Early Learning Guidelines, offered by All Our Kin in partnership with Family Resource Centers and other community-based organizations across the state; a statewide Raising Readers pilot program designed to give home-based child care providers the skills and tools to foster literacy development; and a pilot program at All Our Kin that offers family child care providers the opportunity to enroll in Circle of Security, a relationship-based caregiver education program designed to enhance attachment and relationship quality.
The report concludes with summary observations and suggestions, including the creation of regional family child care networks, increased funding for Family Resource Centers, and the expansion of All Our Kin’s reach. For the full list of recommendations, please see a complete version of the report.