Professional Development Systems to Support Home Visiting for Home-Based Child Care Providers

Research BriefEarly ChildhoodSep 20 2019

The knowledge, skills, and attitudes that early early care and education (ECE) professionals bring to their settings affect the quality of care that children and families receive. Professional development— that is, opportunities for ECE providers to strengthen and expand their skills—is one of the primary strategies used outside of formal educational systems to strengthen the quality of care in ECE settings. However, the infrastructure to support professional development for ECE providers across the settings and sectors in which they work is often fragmented, siloed, and uncoordinated.

Professional development efforts generally focus on center-based ECE staff and do not account for the unique circumstances of home-based child care (HBCC) providers. Unlike center-based workers, HBCC providers are often responsible for both caring for children and running a business. They tend to work alone, in smaller settings, during longer and nontraditional hours, and with mixed-age groups. These characteristics are attractive to families that report choosing HBCC because it offers a home-like environment and lower numbers of children, geographic convenience, flexible hours and payment, lower cost, and the ability to have siblings cared for together.

These unique HBCC characteristics, however, can also present challenges to offering professional development opportunities for HBCC providers. Home visiting, an intervention strategy for families of young children that is delivered in a family’s residence, is an alternative approach to workforce preparation and enhancement that can be useful for supporting the unique professional development needs of HBCC providers. This brief will identify actionable steps to support HBCC providers’ professional development through home visiting by reviewing challenges and opportunities in the ECE professional development infrastructure. In ECE, infrastructure generally refers to the physical and systemic supports available to facilitate the education of young children. For professional development this includes, but is not limited to, communication and coordination across support system elements, postsecondary learning opportunities like coaching and technical assistance, and data systems to monitor and track progress.


This brief is one in a set of three that explore the infrastructure needed to support the use of home visiting models for HBCC. The other briefs examine policy and funding approaches to support this work, and approaches to adapting home visiting curricula to meet the needs of HBCC providers. All three briefs draw on a Child Trends study that considered the feasibility of adapting home visiting models to support HBCC providers. More information about the study behind this brief and about home visiting curricula can be found in Child Trends’ full report: Examining the Feasibility of Using Home Visiting Models to Support Home-Based Child Care Providers.