Better for Babies: A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies

photo19The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)’s Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care Project just published “Better for Babies: A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies”.  The study concludes that most states are falling far short in meeting the needs of babies and their families, and states are struggling to provide quality child care that families can afford.

Key findings include:

  • In most states, child-to-provider ratios and group sizes exceed national expert recommendations. Further, a handful of states do not regulate group size at all.
  • While more than half of states (30) reported having specific infant-toddler training for providers, most state requirements for the number of hours of training are minimal, and the content of training curricula related to infants and toddlers is limited.
  • Twenty-one states report licensing standards that require a consistent primary caregiver for infants and toddlers. A few additional states encourage continuity of care through other means, including regulations, policies, or waivers.
  • Most state standard subsidy reimbursement rates for infants in center-based care fail to meet federally recommended levels.
  • Twenty-two states report offering rate differentials or higher payment rates for infant-toddler care. Higher payment rates for infant-toddler care can offset higher costs and support quality enhancements.
  • Forty-one states report subsidy policies that pay child care providers for days when a child is absent, a policy particularly important for infants and toddlers who have more frequent illnesses and require more frequent doctor visits than older children.
  • Fourteen states reported using direct contracts with child care providers in their subsidy system to increase the supply or improve the quality of subsidized infant-toddler care.

These findings further validate the need for the For Our Babies campaign.  Babies need us to speak up for them! To help us make our voice louder on behalf of babies, please sign our pledge. Ask your friends and colleagues to do the same.

The complete “Better for Babies” study can be downloaded here: BetterforBabies2

CLASP’s Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care Project links research to policy ideas and examples that support the healthy growth and development of infants and toddlers in child care settings. The project provides resources to help states make the best decisions for infants and toddlers in child care. The central tenet of the Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care Project is that state child care subsidy, licensing, and quality enhancement policies that promote the quality and continuity of early childhood experiences can positively impact the healthy growth and development of babies and toddlers. For more information on Charting Progress, visit their website.

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