Defining and Measuring Access to High-Quality Early Care and Education (ECE): A Guidebook for Policymakers and Researchers

Federal, state and local initiatives promoting access to early care and education are supported by research demonstrating that participation in high-quality early care and education (ECE) can improve children’s developmental outcomes and their readiness for school, particularly for children from economically disadvantaged families. Yet, historically, access has had a variety of meanings making it difficult for states to gauge the reach and effectiveness of their policy initiatives aimed at expanding ECE access.

The Access Guidebook offers the field a common working definition of ECE access, and a set of common indicators for measuring access.