Panel Paper: Understanding Different Components of Access: New Georgia Research Focused on Family Child Care Learning Homes

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Tyler - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Randy Hudgins, Jessie Bruno and Bentley Ponder, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

What does effective evidence-based policy look like at different levels of government?

The CCDBG Act of 2014 requires states to make numerous changes that are likely to impact families, children, and providers in a variety of ways. As such the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) is conducting research, as part of a CCDF Evaluation Grant, to better understand possible impacts of key changes to CCDF policy. This includes research to better understand changes in supply and demand of family child care learning homes (FCCLH) and family choices in selecting high-quality early education options. The findings and DECAL’s response provides an interesting look at evidence-based policy at the state level.

In April 2015 there were approximately 461 more FCCLHs open than December 2017. That is about a 22% loss. The decline appears to be consistent over time with no major increase or decrease during the 31-month period evaluated for this project. On the other hand, there are approximately 218 more child care centers in 2017 than there were in April 2015. That is about a 7% increase. Most of the increase occurred during a center licensing change in January 2016.

Capacity of FCCLHs has steadily declined at the same rate as closures which comes out to a 22% decline since April 2015. Though licensed child care facilities are also closing, the clear majority are FCCLHs with small capacity size. Centers are remaining open and are licensed to have a much larger capacity size.

Currently, DECAL’s Research and Policy Analysis team is expanding this research. This expansion includes further analysis around the implications of these findings, how the demand is shaping this changing supply, and what policy changes may be influencing this change. This research has important significance for how evidence-based policy could look like at the state government level as these results are already shifting how Georgia thinks about child care and what could be done to better support family child care learning home providers.

This presentation will detail the following: 1) the specific CCDF policies being evaluated; 2) findings from the research; 3) how the research is being used to impact policies; and 4) next steps. The findings are relevant in terms on how other states and government entities can utilize existing resources and conduct policy relevant research with administrative data.