The Annie E. Casey Foundations releases annual updates to their KIDS COUNT Data Book to report on the well-being of America’s children. The aim is to increase public awareness of the challenges facing disadvantaged children and families while heightening public interest in strategies and policies that hold promise for meeting some of those challenges.
This year, the report focuses on improving early childhood development, particularly child care, to create opportunities for young children living in low-income neighborhoods to access education and skills necessary for success.
Quality child care is not meant to take the place of the role of primary parents, but it is important to realize its influence on early childhood learning and development. Many parents in low-income neighborhoods turn to “family, friend and neighbor care,” which is offered in a home-based setting outside a child’s own home, by both regulated and unregulated providers. It can be provided by caregivers as a business enterprise or by relatives. This essay is focused on developing strategies to help support and improve this particular form of child care.