MDC seeks to uplift Home-Based Child Care (HBCC) as a vital and valued part of the early childhood system through two interconnected systems change initiatives: A community of practice of HBCC networks and a leadership development program of providers. These programs will work together to strengthen the capacity and voice of those directly impacted by the inequities of NC’s child care system.
HBCC is a widely utilized form of care for children under the age of 5, and it is the most common child care placement for infants and toddlers. HBCC includes both formal, regulated care, like licensed family child care homes, as well as informal care known as Family, Friend, & Neighbor care (FFN). It is estimated that 64% of children under age 6 in North Carolina are being cared for in FFN care.
HBCC, both formal and informal, provides critical infrastructure in our early childhood system and is integral to meeting the needs of families at a time when families are struggling to find affordable child care and supply cannot keep up with demand. Despite its prevalence, HBCC providers do not receive equitable resources, support, or recognition from our early childhood system which has prioritized licensed center-based settings. This has contributed to the decline of licensed family child care homes throughout the state. HBCC providers face policy and regulatory barriers and problematic narratives about the care they provide, which are rooted in systemic and structural racism that has been well documented throughout the U.S. child care system.
A Network of Networks: HBCC Community of Practice
Working in partnership with Home Grown, MDC serves as the convenor of a community of practice of HBCC networks across North Carolina as they build out their infrastructure to support HBCC providers and families in their communities. Co-designed in partnership with the networks, the Community of Practice aims to:
- Foster collaboration and shared learning to expand capacity of NC HBCC networks to implement strategies that strengthen their support of local HBCC providers.
- Leverage learnings and collective capacity to identify and advance strategies for creating an equitable and inclusive system for HBCC providers and the families they serve.
Strengthening Provider Leadership: Leading from Home
Leading from Home (LFH) is a national model developed by Home Grown to strengthen HBCC provider leadership to advance policy change. MDC, in partnership with Home Grown, will lead the first state level replication of the model with a cohort of 10 HBCC providers. The initiative utilizes a provider mentor model as well as a leader community of practice to:
- Invest in and strengthen provider leaders as they work to have a voice in policy and decision-making and grow their local networks of providers and parents.
- Create a community of provider leaders that is inclusive of all home-based child care providers, both licensed family child care (FCC) providers and Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) caregivers.
MDC embeds principles of racial equity, equity-centered leadership, language justice, and co-design throughout these initiatives.