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Toward a National Strategy to Improve Family, Friend, and Neighbor Child Care

Authors: J. Lee Kreader and Sharmila Lawrence
Publication Date: September 2006

This is an excerpt from the full brief.

Family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) child care is a widely used form of care for young children in the United States, particularly for children birth through age 2. It accounts for 46 percent of the hours these youngest children spend in nonparental care. Thirty-three experts from a range of research, policy, and practice organizations came together for a symposium on FFN care on November 2, 2005 entitled: Improving Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care: Toward a National Strategy. (See Appendix B for a participant list.) This symposium report outlines the picture of current FFN research, practice, and policy that emerged and identifies next steps to strengthen all three areas. A major step that would support practice, policy, and research alike is to increase public awareness of the widespread use of FFN care by families of all economic levels and ethnicities.

The goals of the symposium were to:

  • Review research, policy, and program issues related to improving the quality of family, friend, and neighbor care for children from infancy through school-age.
  • Develop a set of recommendations for state and federal action, and foundation and other private sector initiatives to improve policies, expand research, and improve programming for young children and their families using FFN care.

Supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the A. L. Mailman Family Foundation,  and the Rauch Foundation, the symposium was organized by the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) of the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University and held in Baltimore, Maryland. Welcomes were extended by Ruth Mayden (Casey Foundation), Luba Lynch (Mailman Foundation), Daphny Leveille (Rauch Foundation), and Lee Kreader (NCCP).