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The role of licensing in supporting quality practices in early care and education

The primary purpose of this brief is to describe a framework for the role of licensing in supporting quality ECE. We hope that this framework will assist Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) and licensing administrators in their work to oversee ECE. We also hope that it will help researchers in their efforts to articulate and test hypotheses that improve our understanding of the relationship between licensing and quality. The framework includes a set of possible research questions related to licensing and quality, as well as a description of existing licensing data at the national level that could be used in research. We acknowledge that the research on licensing and quality is early in its development. As such, a likely next step in building the evidence base for the relationship between licensing and quality in ECE is to conduct basic descriptive studies using state or territory licensing and quality data as well as qualitative data (e.g., focus groups with providers). (author abstract)
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