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New federal research finds child care quality only loosely linked to price

New research from the Administration for Children and Families explores the relationship between the price of center-based child care and measures of quality in those centers. Using data from the 2021 National Survey of Early Care and Education, the authors find that there is little relationship between reported prices and quality of care measures: for preschool-age care, price is associated with 7 of the 18 quality indicators assessed, and for infant and toddler care, cost is associated with even fewer indicators (3 of 14 and 3 of 18, respectively). The authors emphasize that questions remain around what does drive child care pricing, and in particular, “what those prices ‘buy’ families in terms of the quality of care for their children.” #childcare