Child care provides an essential service to many families by allowing parents to participate in the workforce and helping their children develop in a nurturing environment. However, families who have young children with disabilities have constrained child care options and often report more difficulty in finding child care. The child care decision-making process is more complicated for these families because they must navigate their child care needs and the early childhood special education system. Research is needed to examine the child care preferences and child care arrangement patterns of families who have young children with disabilities, and how these families negotiate between their child care needs and early childhood special education services. This study aims to address this need by conducting an explanatory mixed-methods study. To explore national trends in child care preferences and arrangements, this study will use a national sample of households with young children who have disabilities or special needs from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE; NSECE Project Team, 2019). To gain a deeper understanding of the results from the national data, interviews will be conducted with a separate sample of families in Delaware who have young children with disabilities. Integrating the interview findings with the national survey results will provide useful insights into how to better tailor policy and services to facilitate access to child care for families who have young children with disabilities.
Administration for Children and Families/OPRE Projects