Supporting Informal Child Care Providers in Detroit
Increasing access to quality early care and education (ECE) in Detroit is a particular challenge because the number of children who need ECE vastly exceeds the available, licensed slots. Specifically, the 10 neighborhoods most in need of licensed ECE slots are primarily concentrated in northeast and southwest Detroit. Compared with all of Detroit, residents in southwest Detroit are younger and more likely to be Hispanic, be Spanish speaking, and earn an income that is below the poverty line.
In part because of the lack of licensed ECE, informal child care—defined as unlicensed care provided by family, friends, and neighbors—is an attractive option to some families. Families might feel that informal providers are more trustworthy than other child care providers, provide more culturally consistent care, and offer more affordable and convenient care. Therefore, enhancing informal child care is a promising strategy for improving outcomes for children experiencing vulnerability by providing them with access to high quality ECE in home-based settings. However, there is limited research available about the quality of informal child care.
This issue brief highlights learnings from a formative evaluation of a collaborative effort by a funder, a research organization, and three community partners that set out to shed light on the strengths, limitations, and needs of informal child care providers in southwest Detroit. The collaborative also sought to strengthen the resources and supports available to informal child care providers.
The collaborative was formed as part of the Hope Starts Here: Detroit’s Early Childhood Partnership, which aims to make the city of Detroit a world-class city for its children and their families.