Research Findings: Parents make child care decisions based on their existing perceptions of early care and education (ECE) arrangements. Through secondary analysis of the National Survey of Early Care and Education data on parents of preschooler (n = 1674), an exploratory latent profile analysis was conducted to identify distinct profiles of parents based on their ratings of three regular ECE arrangements: center-based child care, family child care (FCC), and family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) care. The findings did not indicate a clear preference for a specific type of arrangements among preschool parents. Rather, two distinct profiles emerged: “favorable across all settings” and “less favorable, prefer FFN care”. For both profiles, FCC was rated lower than FFN care across almost all dimensions. A set of family demographics predicted the profile membership, such as family income, parental employment, and subsidy receipt. Practice or Policy: The reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 requires states to develop consumer education programs to support families in their ECE search. Given that parents have to make tradeoffs when making ECE decisions, state government agencies need to provide credible, updated, and culturally-responsive information to help parents make informed choices. (author abstract)
Preschool parents’ perceptions of early care and education arrangements: A latent profile analysis
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