Family Child Care: Characteristics, Relationships, and Parent Outcomes

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Jimenez Parra, Laura Fernanda
Jones Harden, Brenda
Researchers employing qualitative methods consistently emphasize the close relationship between parents and providers as a unique feature of family child care (FCC) arrangements that is often missed in quality improvement initiatives (Ang et al., 2017; Hooper et al., 2019). Strong parent-provider relationships may be a critical conduit to support positive provider, parent, and child outcomes (Blasberg et al., 2019; Forry et al., 2012). However, little is known about how these constructs operate in FCC settings. I examined the association between FCC providers’ characteristics, the quality of the parent-provider relationship, and how these connections relate to parental involvement and well-being. My results revealed that FCC providers’ educational attainment and the pleasure they derived from their profession were positively associated with the quality of the relationship they formed with families in their programs. However, these relationships were not found to be related to FCC providers’ years of experience, feelings of burnout and stress, and professional development. Further, parents’ perceptions of this relationship were related to better parental mental health outcomes. Yet, there were mixed associations between parents’ perceptions of the parent-provider relationship and their engagement in their children’s education. Findings of this study highlight the need to understand the distinct aspects of quality in FCC settings. FCC offers unique features, such as closer parent-provider relationships, that need to be examined to successfully promote high-quality care in FCC homes and to inform the early childhood field about mechanisms that support positive outcomes in FCC providers and the families they serve.