Infants and Toddlers
High-quality child care and early education--with warm, responsive, skilled caregivers; healthy and safe environments; and linkages to community supports--helps promote healthy development for infants and toddlers and lays a strong foundation for the future. CLASP studies, develops, and promotes child care subsidy and licensing policies and investments to improve the supply and increase the quality of infant/toddler child care across settings, including child care centers; Early Head Start; family child care; and family, friend, and neighbor care. Our Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care project provides a framework of policy recommendations for states. In particular, we focus on the needs of infants and toddlers in low-income families.
The Importance of Family Engagement in Infant and Toddler Programs
Family engagement strategies in child care and early education include families as partners and support families in parenting their children to help them reach their full potential. Research shows the value of building strong relationships among the adults in a young child's life and the positive impact those relationships can have on the family as a whole.
Strong family engagement practices are particularly important for families who face multiple challenges, like poverty and language barriers. For example, more than three-quarters of Head Start families receive at least one family engagement service from the program; the most commonly accessed are parenting education (52 percent), health education (48 percent), and emergency or crisis intervention (21 percent). Despite its importance, knowing how to effectively engage parents from a variety of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds in child care and early education has historically been a challenge for the field. However, effective models like the Strengthening Families and Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement frameworks have offered approaches that can help policy makers and practitioners improve family engagement practices.
To shine light on what research tells us about the importance of family engagement in child care and early education programs serving infants and toddlers, CLASP has released a new resource. Promote Family Engagement is part of CLASP's "Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care" project, an ongoing effort by CLASP to link research to policy ideas to help states make the best decisions for infants and toddlers in child care. This latest resource provides research documenting the importance of strengthening family engagement, policy recommendations states can consider to improve their family engagement strategies for infants and toddlers, and additional online resources.
Using information provided in Promote Family Engagement, States can put policies in place that support and strengthen families with infants and toddlers and increase child care and early education providers' ability to serve those children well. By incorporating expectations around family engagement practices into quality, subsidy and licensing policies, states can build on the success of existing models and practices, creating both the incentive and the supports that programs require to meet the needs of vulnerable families. To find out more about the importance of family engagement in programs serving infants and toddlers, as well as the policy options available to states, visit Promote Family Engagement>>
- Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews | Sep 09, 2013 Better for Babies: A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies
- Stephanie Schmit | Nov 20, 2012 Early Head Start Participants, Programs, Families and Staff in 2011
- Stephanie Schmit and Jamie Colvard | Sep 13, 2012 Expanding Access to Early Head Start: State Initiatives for Infants and Toddlers at Risk
- Christine Johnson-Staub | Sep 11, 2012 Putting it Together: A Guide to Financing Comprehensive Services in Child Care and Early Education
- Christine Johnson-Staub and Stephanie Schmit | Jun 05, 2012 Home Away From Home: A Toolkit for Planning Home Visiting Partnerships with Family, Friend, and Neighbor Caregivers
- Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews | Nov 25, 2013 Caring for Babies: How State Child Care Policies Can Support Infants and Toddlers
- Christine Johnson-Staub and Hannah Matthews | Nov 25, 2013 State and Community Level Policy and Finance Strategies for Promoting and Supporting Developmental Screening and Preventive Health Practices
- Christine Johnson-Staub | Nov 19, 2013 Promote Family Engagement
- Stephanie Schmit, Hannah Matthews, Sheila Smith (NCCP), and Taylor Robbins (NCCP) | Nov 14, 2013 Investing in Young Children: A Fact Sheet on Early Care and Education Participation, Access, and Quality
- Olivia Golden | Nov 08, 2013 Recommendations to the Congressional Budget Conference Committee