Factors that Influence Families’ Search for Child Care and Early Education

Publication Date:

May 4, 2022

father and child on a laptopFor most families, the process of finding and paying for child care and early education (CCEE) is challenging. Families ultimately select CCEE arrangements that accommodate their unique circumstances, family values and culture, and multiple constraints related to income, employment, family composition, transportation, and availability of child care options in their community.[1],[2]

Searching for CCEE can be easier if more information is readily available to help families find the provider that fits best with their needs. States have recently developed consumer education websites as a result of statutory changes under the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). These websites facilitate searching for CCEE by providing information about child care assistance, licensing, and quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS), and by offering a searchable list of CCEE providers. At the same time, families are not always aware of state resources that could inform their child care search. States therefore need to consider the information they offer on their consumer education websites and how to best reach families with this information.


Footnotes

[1] Chaudry, A., Henly, J., & Meyers, M. (2010). ACF-OPRE White Paper: Conceptual frameworks for child care decision-making. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/report/conceptual-frameworks-child-care-decision-making-white-paper

[2] Weber. R. (2011). Understanding parents’ child care decision-making: A foundation for policy making. OPRE Research-to-Policy, Research-to-Practice Brief OPRE 2011-12. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/report/understanding-parents-child-care-decision-making-foundation-child-care-policy-making

This brief is part of the Child Care and Early Education Policy and Research Analysis (CCEEPRA) project. CCEEPRA supports policy and program planning and decision-making with rigorous, research-based information.