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IN THIS ISSUE January 2021
Research Connections Updates
Monthly Spotlight
Other Featured Resources
Research Connections Updates
This edition of Research Connections News & Resources highlights research on the following: the factors that contribute to early care and education (ECE) workers’ professional development participation; how to aid family child care providers who remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic; the impact of COVID-19–related requirements on child care providers’ financial situations; measuring and defining access to early care and education; and the positive impact of center-based care for highly-vulnerable children.
Monthly Spotlight
Understanding Facilitators and Barriers to Professional Development Use Among the Early Care and Education Workforce
This report examines factors at the individual, program, and system levels that are associated with ECE teachers’ and caregivers’ participation in professional development opportunities. These findings will be of interest to policymakers who want to efficiently target and ensure equitable access to professional development supports. (This resource is freely available.)
Other Featured Resources

Family Child Care Providers: Unsung Heroes in the COVID-19 Crisis

This research brief highlights the untenable situation faced by many family child care providers who remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing data from focus groups with family child care providers in California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Florida. The brief offers detail on challenges that were intensified by the pandemic and policy solutions to offset further difficulties (for example, provide clear and timely information and equitable access to it). (This resource is freely available.)

The Financial Impact of COVID Licensing Standards on NJ Child Care Providers

This report focuses on the financial impact of lower child-to-staff ratios and higher fixed operating costs on New Jersey child care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. It uses detailed models of a hypothetical child care center to highlight child care providers’ vulnerable financial position before the pandemic and unsustainable financial position after the pandemic. These models can be useful when considering subsidy rates and other financial supports for child care providers during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. (This resource is freely available.)

Conceptualizing and Measuring Access to Early Care and Education

This literature review discusses how current policy efforts and research define and measure access to ECE in a multifaceted way, beyond availability or affordability alone. Among other findings, the reviewers found that more than 90 percent of the papers and articles reviewed consider access to include at least three of the following: "reasonable effort," "affordability," "supports children's development," "meets the parents' needs," and "equity." In addition, more than half of the literature reviewed explicitly addressed equity as a dimension of access. This review can be useful to policymakers and researchers looking to address ECE access as a complex, multidimensional issue. (This resource is freely available.)

Mapping Access to Affordable Early Childhood Education and Care: Methodology and Application to Community Advocacy

This open access journal article describes a spatial analysis technique used to map equitable and affordable access to early care and education. The technique, which relies on supply, demand, and cost data, allows policymakers to visualize and identify areas of inequitable access to affordable, quality early care and education. This method can help policymakers target resources to areas where they will have the greatest impact. (This complete journal article is currently available without a subscription.)

The Effects of Early Care and Education Settings on the Kindergarten Outcomes of Doubly Vulnerable Children

This study analyzes the effects of center-based early child care on doubly vulnerable children (in other words, children who are from low-income backgrounds and have—or are at risk for—special needs). Among other outcomes, the findings suggest that center-based care is associated with better prosocial behavior at kindergarten entry than home-based care. Researchers can use these results to further examine which individual factors contribute to successful outcomes among doubly vulnerable children.

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Copyright © 2020 ICF, All rights reserved.

Until March 30, 2019, Research Connections was supported under grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Research Connections is now supported by contract #HHSP233201500071I from OPRE, ACF, HHS. The contents do not necessarily represent the views of OPRE, ACF, or HHS. 

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