Lessons from Southwest Detroit's Efforts to Support Informal Child Care | Episode 59
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Lessons from Southwest Detroit's Efforts to Support Informal Child Care | Episode 59

Five years ago, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, launched Hope Starts Here, a community-focused, citywide initiative aimed at ensuring that all children in Detroit are prepared for kindergarten by increasing access to high quality early care and education.

As part of the citywide initiative, Mathematica, with financial support from the Kellogg Foundation, worked to implement promising strategies to enhance the quality of informal child care, which is defined as unlicensed care provided by family, friends, and neighbors. Outside of care provided by a parent, informal child care is the most common form of care for infants and toddlers in the United States. The project focused on providing resources and support informal providers in southwest Detroit, one of 10 neighborhoods in the city where the number of children who need early care and education vastly exceeds the number of available, licensed slots. Even when a licensed slot is available, families may still prefer informal care because they believe the providers are more trustworthy, provide more culturally consistent care, and offer more affordable and convenient care.

On the latest episode of On the Evidence, people involved in the effort to support informal child care in southwest Detroit reflect on the experience. Given how many families in United States rely on this form of care, insights on how to strengthen the quality of care and education offered by informal providers could help make the overall child care and early education system stronger and more equitable across the country. Guests for the episode are:

• Linda Jackson, an informal care provider

• Violeta Ramirez, an informal care provider

• AleshaNicole, a teaching artist at Living Arts, a neighborhood nonprofit that provides arts education programs to engage and inspire youth, families, and teachers

• Amanda Holiday, an early childhood specialist at Congress of Communities, a resident-led organizing and advocacy agency working for change in the areas of public safety and education

• Eileen Storer Smith, a program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

• Cleo Jacobs Johnson, a senior researcher at Mathematica

Read the issue brief from Mathematica on supporting informal child care providers in southwest Detroit: http://mathematica.org/news/insights-from-a-community-collaborative-to-improve-informal-child-care-in-detroit

Read a blog by Mathematica’s Mynti Hossain, Nazihah Siddiqui, and Cleo Jacobs Johnson about why supporting informal child care providers is key to advancing equity: mathematica.org/blogs/supporting-informal-child-care-providers-is-key-to-advancing-equity

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