A new study looks into what is needed to improve the early care and education system. The report includes insights gathered from early care providers and parents of young children during focus groups hosted by the Federal Reserve System’s Early Care and Education Work Group, in partnership with Public Works Partners.

Key takeaways include:

  • The elements that go into the definition of quality for early care and education from providers and parents are often more complex than what is included in state standards.
  • Providers and parents both cite experienced staff as key to program quality. However, providers struggle to meet the demand for their services, largely because of challenges hiring and retaining qualified staff.
  • Due to limited care options, parents often make tradeoffs in their career and care situations. This leads parents to prioritize availability and affordability over quality.
  • Participants in focus groups offered ideas on potential solutions, including increased support from government sources, which could benefit both parents and providers and lead to higher-quality care.

This article is part of a series produced by the Federal Reserve’s Early Care and Education Work Group. See more series contributions from other Federal Reserve Banks:

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