Partnering to Provide Families and Children with the Services They Need

Feb 29, 2012

By Emily Firgens

For many families, the best child care option may be family providers. The Office of Head Start encourages grantees to adopt program models that best meet families' needs, including contracting with family child care. Out of the 120,433 children under age 3 served by Early Head Start in 2010, 2 percent were in family child care.

To help this model better serve more families, in 2010 the federal Offices of Head Start and Child Care partnered with Zero to Three (ZTT) and Mathematica Policy Research to implement and evaluate the Early Head Start for Family Child Care project. The project aimed to provide higher-quality care for families and coordinated and comprehensive services, as well as increase the capacity of family child care providers, and build strong partnerships that better coordinate service delivery in communities. Twenty-two partnerships across 17 different states participated in the 10-month long project.

The Project's final report reveals that the participants built stronger, more understanding relationships. Staff at each organization better understood the programs and services offered by the other, the organizational leaders better understood how the programs fit together, and an infrastructure was put in place to share information about providers and families, offering administrative support and training. Partnerships also increased state-level engagement, reaching out to state-level officials and policymakers.

Findings from the evaluation inform not only Early Head Start providers partnering with family child care, but other providers and local and state policymakers interested in effectively engaging with family child care providers and improving the quality of care for children in those settings. The report offers guidance on building and sustaining partnerships and the local, state and federal policy considerations.

Find out more in the full report on the Early Head Start for Family Child Care project >>

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