2016 Supporting Continuous Quality Improvement in Family Child Care

The National Center for Early Childhood Quality Assurance, in partnership with the BUILD Initiative, is working with teams who are eager to strengthen relationship-based, developmentally appropriate early learning experiences for children in family child care through family child care (FCC) networks or collaborative partnership support systems. 
A recent Office of Child Care brief about why they support family child care points out that
  • High-quality family child care offers many unique features, such as more individualized and responsive care in smaller group settings and a warm, nurturing, and familiar environment for children…Research has identified predictors of quality in family child care, which include licensing, professional support, training, financial resources, and provider experience. High-quality family child care has been linked to improvements in children’s cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development. 
  • Although licensing rules for family child care in States often do not reflect high-quality standards, FCC providers can exceed these minimum expectations and can provide high-quality care and early learning experiences for children. (p. 1)
Research indicates that home-based child care is widely used among families with young children, especially low-income families and families with infants and toddlers. In an effort to ensure that children in family child care settings are engaging in positive experiences that prepare them for school, an array of resources, networks, collaborative partnerships, and associations have emerged at the national, state, and local levels. Though evidence-based curricula, assessments, and other tools exist, FCC providers are often left on their own to access and integrate such resources into their child care programs. 
To meet higher quality standards, FCC providers need support and resources. Staffed FCC networks can play an important role in improving the quality of family child care. An FCC network is a funded organization, agency, or collaborative partnership that offers ongoing support, training, and technical assistance to FCC providers. These networks may provide resources and lending libraries, local or state accreditation support, quality rating and improvement system training or technical assistance, and leadership mentoring. Providers may also access support through FCC associations. An FCC association is a group of family child care providers working in a volunteer capacity to provide each other with networking, support, mentoring, and possibly professional development.
The Supporting Continuous Quality Improvement in Family Child Care learning group is a five-part professional learning opportunity for teams made up of state, regional, and local stakeholders. The learning group will include a series of four webinars and a one-and-a-half-day in-person meeting adjacent to the National Association for Family Child Care’s Family Child Care Institute.