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Catalyzing Growth: Using Data to Change Child Care

September 14, 2022

ARLINGTON, VA, September 14, 2022 — Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) today released the first report of our research series: Catalyzing Growth: Using Data to Change Child Care. The report, Annual Child Care Landscape Analysis: 2021 Supply and Quality Trends, provides detailed information about the child care system in the United States. 

This year, CCAoA is featuring longitudinal supply data to increase understanding of how the supply of child care has changed since 2019, prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationally, CCAoA found that while there was an increase in the number of child care centers from 2020 to 2021, the total number of centers remains slightly lower than the number open in 2019.   

There continues to be a downward trend in the supply of licensed Family Child Care (FCC) homes. Among the 40 states for which CCAoA has complete data, we found a 10% decrease in FCC homes over the last three years (107,783 in 2019 to 97,393 in 2021). Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply of FCC homes was decreasing. This is an alarming trend because FCC homes are an affordable option for many families and often the only choice for families, especially in rural communities. 

“The supply of child care centers has returned to some extent, but the number of open centers is still below those open in 2019,” said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware of America. “This slow regrowth of centers, combined with continued losses of family child care homes, spells a continuing child care crisis for our country.” 

Explore the Child Care Landscape Analysis on the CCAoA website. 

Tracking child care supply is critical to understanding how our child care system is functioning. This year, the Child Care Landscape Analysis includes the following information, by state:  

  • Number of licensed child care centers and family child care (FCC) homes open at the end of 2019, 2020 and 2021;  
  • Number of licensed school-age child care programs open at the end of 2021; 
  • Total licensed capacity for centers, FCCs, and school-age child care programs at the end of 2021; 
  • Number of programs participating in quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS), along with the total capacity of these programs; 
  • Total number and licensed capacity of programs rated at the highest level of the state’s QRIS; 
  • Total number of child care referrals provided to families by child care resource and referral (CCR&R) agencies. 

The Child Care Landscape Analysis is the first installment in CCAoA’s comprehensive overview of the child care field, Catalyzing Growth: Using Data to Change Child Care. Over the next few months, we will release Price of Care: 2021 Child Care Affordability; Perspectives from the Field: The Voices of Child Care Providers, CCR&Rs and Families; and The Year in Child Care: 2021 Data, Analysis and Recommendations.

Topics: Press Release

Written by CCAoA