Quality in Home-Based Child Care: Summary of Existing Measures and Indicators

Quality in Home-Based Child Care: Summary of Existing Measures and Indicators

OPRE Report 2022-27
Published: May 03, 2022
Publisher: Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Associated Project

Home Based Child Care Supply and Quality

Time frame: 2019-2024

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation

Clients
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Authors

Ann Li

Jasmine Forde

Jaimie Orland

Marina Ragonese-Barnes

Nathan Mix

Natalie Reid

Key Findings
  • By design, almost all measures and most indicators in this review were developed for use in HBCC, but most were based on or designed to parallel measures of center-based care. Few were developed to account for features more likely to occur or to be implemented differently in HBCC settings, especially settings that are legally exempt from regulation (license-exempt) such as family, friend, and neighbor care.
  • Some constructs that are important for HBCC settings are never found or seldom found in measures or indicators, including aspects of family–provider relationships and conditions for operations and sustainability. In addition, although most HBCC measures address support for development, many are aimed toward the needs of preschool children, and few focus on infants and toddlers or school-age children. No measures assess quality of care during nontraditional hours, which includes care provided during evening, weekend, or overnight hours.
  • Most measures reported at least one type of psychometric evidence that meets the review’s reliability or validity standards. However, available evidence is limited, and it is often based on the full measure, rather than the items that assess a particular component or feature in the measure.
  • Most of the indicators have not been validated separately from center-based indicators. In the cases in which HBCC-specific evidence is available, validity and reliability generally meet the review’s minimum standards, but the sample is often limited in the characteristics of the HBCC setting or sample size. Most national standards included in our review do not present associated evidence on reliability or validity.

Many widely used measures of home-based child care (HBCC) quality and most existing Quality Rating and Improvement System standards—and the indicators they use to assess HBCC settings—have their roots in measures and standards developed for centers. Those measures and indicators might not capture the features of care that researchers, families, and HBCC providers associate with quality. This report summarizes findings from a review of existing HBCC measures and indicators, which is one component of the HBCC Supply and Quality project. The review includes 31 measures and 46 sets of indicators, including measures and indicators that were designed for use in HBCC or include quality features more likely to occur or to be implemented differently in HBCC settings. This report summarizes key features across measures and indicators, gaps in quality measurement for HBCC, and the strengths and limitations of existing measures and indicators. A more detailed profile of each measure and set of indicators is in the accompanying “Compendium of Measures and Indicators of Home-Based Child Care Quality.”

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