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Exploring the potential of online technology as a tool for informing the practice of license-exempt child care providers
Clark, Douglas P., March, 2007
E-Learning and Digital Media, 4(1), 24-39

In the United States, government funding underwrites the cost of child care services for over 1.7 million children from income-eligible families. About one in four American children served by these subsidies is cared for in a setting where a state-issued license to operate is not required, but in many states the percentages are higher. In Illinois, the use of this form of child care accounts for nearly half of all children receiving services through the state's child care subsidy program each year. Relatives, friends or neighbors are the most common providers of informal child care arrangements, yet most are not closely connected to resources and supports available to them via the state's established early childhood regulatory system. In 2005, a state-wide study was undertaken to better understand the potential of Internet technology as a tool for connecting Illinois license-exempt providers with resources to inform their care-giving practices. This project was underwritten by the Child Care Bureau of the US Department of Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, and was strengthened by cooperation from the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. Data drawn from telephone interviews with a representative sample of 102 providers describe the background characteristics of license-exempt providers relevant to their past and prospective engagement in early childhood information and training. Furthermore, this study examined Illinois license-exempt providers' current levels of access to computers and Internet connections along with their perceptions about the degree to which the Internet has a role in their daily routines and activities. Additional outcomes show the extent to which these providers engage in a range of online pursuits such as communicating by email, seeking news and weather reports, conducting web-based business, and seeking online information about early childhood education and care. (author abstract)

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Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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