Family Child Care Research & Data Fact Sheet
This fact sheet, created by NAFCC, draws on various sources to provide important data on family child care programs around the nation. It provides insights on children’s enrollment in family child care, the availability of family child care, and challenges/opportunities for family child care programs. This data should be used to inform family child care policy and advocacy.
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Enrollment in Family Child Care:
Out of nearly 11 million young children with working mothers, 40% spent more time in family child care than in any other child care setting. [i] Here’s a look at the details:
- 94.2% of listed, home-based providers were caring for at least one child under three years of age, while 85.5% were caring for at least one preschooler (ages 3 through 5 years). [ii] Almost two-thirds (63.2%) reported serving at least one school-age child. [iii]
- Nationally, about one in four children (24%) receiving child care funded by the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program are cared for in family child care. [iv]
- Family child care providers care for 27% of infants younger than age 1, and 24% of toddlers ages 1-3, in CCDF-supported child care. [v]
Availability of Family Child Care:
According to the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), there are one million paid providers caring for children in a home of the provider, caring for three million children from birth to age five in these settings [vii]. NSECE classified about 118,000 of the one million paid providers as licensed, regulated, exempt from licensure, or registered – the states use different terms with different definitions. As a group, these 118,000 paid providers are referred to as “listed” by the NSECE, who also categorized 919,000 as unlisted, paid home-based providers.
ACF data from 2017 shows 123,816 licensed family child care. That includes 86,309 small family child care programs, which ACF defines as a solo person/no other workers. And it includes 37,507 large family child care programs (not a term or a category used in every state) which ACF defines as having two or more people providing child care there.
The number of licensed family child care homes fell by 52% from 2005 to 2017 [viii]. From 2014 to 2017, the drop was 22% and family child care educators share that it’s a challenging job to navigate and carry out standards without sufficient dollars/resources, as well as difficulty with economics, the costs, and aging/retirement.
Commitment to the Practice and the Profession:
- 61% of listed, paid home-based providers have more than 10 years of experience and 42% intend to continue for 10 or more years [ix]. 47% say this work is a personal career or a calling [x].
- Predictors of quality in family child care include licensing, professional support, training, financial resources, and provider experience. [xi]
- One-third of listed providers have a degree in ECE or an ECE-related major. [xii] Among listed, paid home-based providers who cared for at least one child under age 3 [xiii], 43% had a Child Development Associate (CDA) or a state certification.
- Three-quarters of listed providers have participated in a workshop in the previous 12 months and among those providers, one-third of them reported participating in a series. [xiv] 30% are taking a college course and 34% are receiving coaching. [xv]
- Family child care programs can be a learning environment with activities and experiences that are safe, healthy, and allow for children to work at their own pace. More than half (54.9%) of listed, home-based providers are using a curriculum or prepared set of learning and play activities.
- 30% of listed, paid home-based providers note their main responsibility is to provide for children’s basic needs. 44% of listed, paid home-based providers have helped at least one family to find services.
Opportunities Right in Our Own Neighborhoods:
- The opportunity for one-on-one relationships and responsive and nurturing care in a family setting has the potential for positive outcomes for children. [xvi]
- High-quality family child care has been linked to improvements in children’s cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development. [xvii]
- 70% of poor children in regular, non-parental care receive that care within three miles of their home. [xviii] In communities where price, location and transportation barriers limit child care options, family child care is a critical need for families.
Relationships and Continuity:
- There is evidence that consistent and reliable caregiving supports early neurological development. [xix]
- Having the same family child care provider for several years provides the opportunity for a responsive relationship between the infant or toddler and the adult caregiver. [xx]
- Family child care provides children an opportunity to be cared for in smaller groups and to be cared for by a provider who is responsible for fewer children than in a center setting. [xxi] These small group sizes facilitate the strengths of relationships and interactions.