Brief Understanding the Need for Nontraditional-Hour Child Care in Georgia
Needs and Considerations
Teresa Derrick-Mills, Elly Miles, Cary Lou, Anna Farr, Michelle Casas, Catherine Kuhns, Laura Wagner
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The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) contracted with our Urban Institute team to drill down further into a finding from our 2021 work that some parents needed child care to be open longer hours and beyond traditional hours. This brief answers questions about nonparental child care needs and preferences after 6:00 p.m. or before 7:00 a.m. on the weekdays or anytime on the weekends and provides DECAL with considerations for supporting those nontraditional-hour child care needs.

Nontraditional-Hour Care Needs Vary by Industry, Urbanicity, and Family Characteristics

  • The 475,000 children from birth to age 12 with nontraditional-hour care needs are spread across Georgia’s 159 counties, living in both rural and urban communities.
  • Parents working in many industries have nontraditional-hour care needs (see figure below).
  • The data show the greatest need for nontraditional-hour care is on the weekend, followed by care in the early morning and early evening. Parents we spoke with noted that they often need care that crosses over between these nontraditional-hour periods and traditional hours, creating transportation needs between existing options.
  • Parents’ perspectives varied on the types of care they preferred for nontraditional hours. Regardless of the setting, they wanted their children to be safe, have help with care routines, get their meals, have few sleep disruptions, and be able to engage in activities that were less structured than school or preschool.

Our Recommendations to DECAL

  • Consider a multidimensional definition of need as one criterion for determining where to pilot strategies to support nontraditional-hour care.
  • Work with Local Communities, Community Organizations, and Employers to Identify Communities’ Particular Needs
  • Support all types of child care options and help families secure safe care for all those options.
  • Allow funds to support transportation of children between child care arrangements.
  • Support existing child care centers or homes where the need is sufficient to open earlier or stay open later to support parents who need just a little more time in the morning or early evening.
  • Ensure that large for-profit businesses in Georgia know about the tax incentive and tax credit supports available to them through the state of Georgia and federal government.
Research Areas Children and youth Families
Tags Child care
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population
Research Methods Quantitative data analysis Qualitative data analysis
States Georgia
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