The decision to leave one’s child in the care of another adult is one of the most challenging and deeply personal actions a family may have to make in the early years. In 2021, there were over 11 million infants and toddlers in the United States—equaling 3.5% of the country’s population. Almost 63% of these children had mothers who were active in the workforce. (Keating, 2021). For many young families in the United States, there are very few authentic child care options that meet child and family needs, are affordable and are local.
Approximately half of families who want to access child care find it excessively difficult or impossible to secure licensed child care (Schochet, 2019). Access to high-quality infant-toddler child care is out of reach for the 40% of babies born to households with low-income (Keating, 2021), a disproportionate number of whom are babies of color (Pizarek, 2021).
Detroit’s Hope Starts Here, a community-focused citywide initiative to put children and families first, recognized that the number of children who needed care in the city vastly exceeded the number of available child care slots. Specifically, they recognized this problem in communities where there were many young Hispanic, Spanish-speaking residents whose income often fell below the poverty line. Understanding this inequity, the group set out to enhance the quality of care in FFN homes that families most often accessed. The program, designed as a learning collaborative, set out to provide these informal providers supports and resources to deliver developmentally appropriate care and education in the home setting. The effort showed many positive outcomes including enhanced knowledge of child development and behaviors, improvements in communication with children and families, and increased understanding of the value of relationships in young children’s lives. This culturally responsive project took time and relationships within the community to be successful. Leaders of the effort reported a better understanding of the provider community, their needs and what community resources needed to be developed to help children thrive (Hague Angus, 2021).
To read more about state strategies to strengthen home based child care read here.