PHILADELPHIA – A group of 10 funders today announced a new collaborative, Home Grown, to improve home-based child care in the United States. Home Grown will increase access to and the quality of home-based child care for one million young children and their families.
Many families across the country rely on licensed home-based providers, family members, neighbors, and community members for child care. High-quality home-based child care can substantially improve children’s cognitive, language, social-emotional, and physical growth; offer job opportunities for providers; and provide more flexible and convenient care options for families. Home-based child care is especially valuable to rural communities and employees with nontraditional work hours and is often a trusted option for families with infants, toddlers, and children with special needs. Home Grown will increase attention to and invest in home-based child care to improve the long-term outcomes for millions of children and their families by helping to close the achievement gap before children enter formal schooling.
According to the National Survey of Early Care and Education, nearly 4 million providers and caregivers currently care for over 7 million children from birth to age 5 in a home-based setting, far exceeding the number of children cared for in center-based settings (3.8 million). Despite the demand for home-based child care, families often face barriers to accessing quality care in home-based settings and often lack credible information about care standards to inform their decisions. Providers of home-based child care, often low-income women of color, face barriers to offering quality care, including cost-prohibitive training and complex regulatory systems.
With 83 percent of families reporting that they struggle to find affordable, accessible, quality child care, and more than half of all Americans living in neighborhoods with more than three children for every licensed child care slot, the current child care market is unsustainable and underserves children, their families and caregivers.
“Millions of parents rely on home-based child care while they are working. We have to assure that home-based providers receive the support they need to provide quality care to the young children who are in their care every day. Launching Home Grown is an important step towards that goal,” said Joan Lombardi, a leading expert on early childhood development.
Home Grown will fund, champion and promote programs and initiatives that stabilize and expand home-based child care services; deliver resources and learning supports to children and their caregivers; improve the capabilities of caregivers to deliver effective home-based services; promote the value and importance of home-based child care; and support the adoption of model policies that enhance the sector.
The first two investments from collaborative members have gone to All Our Kin, which trains, supports and sustains community child care providers, and the University of Oregon’s Center for Translational Neuroscience to support the development of a digital repository and search engine for measures for programs supporting caregivers and young children.
The collaborative is backed by the Buffet Early Childhood Fund, Gary Community Investments, Heinz Endowments, Heising-Simons Foundation, Klingenstein Philanthropies, MAEVA Social Capital, Merage Foundations, Omidyar Network, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Pritzker Children’s Initiative.
The volume, caliber, and commitment of the funders joining together in this work speaks to the urgency of the issue. Ensuring that all families have access to appropriate, affordable, and high-quality care for their young children is an issue that cuts across many systemic goals—education, economic opportunity, mobility from poverty, and increasing equity of opportunity.
“I am thrilled to join this incredible group of funders in harnessing the potential of home-based child care as a solution to America’s child care crisis. By investing in dedicated providers to build quality practices and enabling families to have access to care they need, we can ensure that children thrive,” said Natalie Renew, director of Home Grown.
Home Grown would welcome conversations with providers, experts, funders or others in the field interested in discussing or engaging in this work.
Natalie Renew, Director