Child Care Collaboration Study Team: New Findings on Infant and Toddler Care Policies

Meghan Broadstone

EDC’s Child Care Collaboration Study team—PI Gary Resnick, co-PI Meghan Broadstone, Heidi Rosenberg, and Sarah Kim—has published early findings from their four-year investigation of the role of state and community-level collaboration in enhancing the quality, accessibility, and comprehensiveness of infant and toddler care.

The team’s two new briefs, State Policies and Practices Supporting Child Care for Infant and Toddlers and A National Snapshot of State-Level Collaboration for Early Care and Education, present data from a national survey of state child care administrators and a secondary analysis of extant datasets. “There is increased attention on improving the quality of infant and toddler care, especially for low income families,” Meghan Broadstone (at left) said. “Our findings provide new insight into policies and regulations that can improve program practice, as well as the challenges that state leaders experience as they try to collaborate to improve care for infant and toddlers.”

Findings include:

  • Most Significant Actions to Improve Access to High-Quality Care: The majority of leaders (75%) said that tiered reimbursement (providing financial incentives to child care programs that successfully improve the quality of their care and are able to meet the state’s quality criteria) is “the most significant” action to increase the supply of high-quality child care. About half of the leaders said that technical assistance and higher subsidy rates to help providers improve their services are also “most significant” actions.
  • Need to Support Full Collaboration: Full collaboration—which the team defines as sharing ideas and resources, communicating frequently, and joint decision-making—among state-level child care, Head Start, and prekindergarten leaders has been shown to maximize resources and contribute to high-quality care across agencies. However, the team found that few states have achieved a “full collaboration” level of interaction. Barriers include conflicting program regulations and high turnover in leaders, requiring constant rebuilding of collaborative relationships.

The briefs, along with recent findings from our Ready To Learn study team, mark the latest milestones in EDC’s decades of advancing the field’s knowledge of strategies to improve the school readiness and well-being of children—with a special focus on meeting the needs of children from low-income families. In the next phase of the study, the team will examine how state-level collaboration influences collaboration among local child care providers and seek to identify effective models of collaboration that result in improved services for infants and toddlers.

Last Updated: December 2016