This study examines the varying quality of child care in Massachusetts and across the nation, and its effect on children's performance and family functioning.
Early childhood is a critical time for children to develop the foundation they need for their later years (National Research Council, 2000, 2001). Both the family environment and the early care and education have been found to significantly impact children’s early cognitive, language, and social emotional development. In order to understand the influence of early care and education on children’s outcomes, an ecological model needs to be applied that will consider key aspects of the family environment that have also been found to influence children’s competencies.
This study will employ The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) database to conduct rigorous scientific analyses regarding influence of early care and education arrangements on young children’s outcomes and the aspects of home environments that moderate the impact of these early education settings. Current descriptive data on the state of infant care and scientifically based information on the inter-relatedness between specific components of quality and affordability of early education and care, the family environment, family characteristics, and children’s developmental outcomes will produce valuable information that will inform early education policy regarding the needs of children and families.