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).
In Massachusetts, child care programs that enroll children served by the subsidy child care system, must be enrolled in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Clarendon Early Education Services, Inc., an FCC network in Massachusetts, contracts with the state Department of Early Education and Care as a statewide sponsor of the CACFP. The group’s mission is to support the small business model of FCC while offering high-quality nutritional and educational services to children and families. Clarendon supports all FCC programs who enroll in CACFP through their organization. The organization also provides dedicated staff and network services to FCC providers who serve children in the child welfare system. For programs serving these children, Clarendon manages subsidy paperwork, enrollment and more. Providers can depend on twice monthly direct deposits, an added stability measure for both families and providers.
To read more about state strategies to strengthen home based child care read here.