New research shows “family, friend and neighbor” (FFN) childcare providers with higher levels of education or training are more likely to have the skills to provide higher quality care for children, resulting in improved health and safety, and richer learning experiences.
Around 6,200 FFN providers care for approximately 13,600 children eligible for child care subsidies in Washington. After collectively organizing through the SEIU 925 in 2006, FFN providers successfully bargained for increased state investments in training – including first aid, health and safety, engaging children in age appropriate activities, and guiding children’s behavior.
When researchers at the Economic Opportunity Institute (EOI) examined the impact of that training, they found multiple positive outcomes for providers, including:
- Positive impacts on both their knowledge and their skill level.
- Increased professional connections with other providers, used to share advice and seek support.
- Improved satisfaction with providing child care.
“Training is important for improving quality outcomes in family, friend and neighbor child care settings,” said Gary Burris, co-author of the study. “This research finds measureable increases in the knowledge base and skill level of child care providers who participate in trainings – and suggests children are receiving higher quality care as a result.”
A majority of the child care providers surveyed (+90%) indicated SEIU 925 plays a significant role in making training opportunities available, and felt that fewer training opportunities would be available without collective bargaining.
The survey found that over 70% of FFN providers have one to three children in their care. Many provide child care as a full-time job, with an average of caring for children of 36 hour per week. A preponderance of FFN providers are female, with English as their first language. A majority are over the age of 45, about half are married, and about half describe themselves as White.
The study was funded by a research grant from American Rights at Work Education Fund.
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