Parents rely on a range of center- and home-based options for their children’s early care and education (ECE). Providers support children’s early learning and development, and give parents time and space to pursue their own school, work, and training opportunities. Despite these myriad benefits, many families face barriers to accessing care—particularly regulated ECE programs—due to limited supply and high costs. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated such barriers as the ECE field deals with staffing and financial challenges.
Home visitors can help families learn about the complex ECE system, connect them to services, and ease the enrollment process. They can support families in searching for and selecting an ECE provider that meets their needs.
This research brief summarizes the available research to address the following questions:
- How does ECE benefit children and families?
- What challenges do families face accessing ECE programs?
- How can home visiting better refer and connect families to ECE services?
- What are the implications for research and practice?
The authors discuss four types of resources that can help home visiting programs better support ECE referrals and connections.
This brief was developed for the National Home Visiting Resource Center and is available on its website. The NHVRC is led by James Bell Associates in partnership with the Urban Institute. Support is provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation and previously from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.