Overcoming Financial Barriers to Expanding High-Quality Early Care & Education in Southeastern Pennsylvania

High-quality early care and education (ECE) programs have been proven to create positive outcomes among children—especially among those living in poverty. Yet many children from low-income families have a hard time accessing quality child care and miss the critical developmental growth and foundation needed for academic and life success.

In 2013, the Nonprofit Financace Fund (NFF) embarked on a multi-pronged study of 147 ECE providers to assess the financial challenges of operating high-quality ECE programs. In this report, NFF highlights the key financial, business, and systemic barriers to delivering high-quality programs—with a focus on nonprofit ECE programs serving the Philadelphia Region’s most vulnerable children. This report begins to raise questions about how the current ECE system is capitalized (and under-capitalized) and sheds light on the inadequacies of the status quo to support the positive child outcomes expected from high-quality ECE programs.