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Understanding ‘Post-Pandemic’ Family Child Care Providers: Why New Providers Entered the Field and Why Others Left

Strategic Priority Alignment
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Project Launch: July 2023

FAQs updated: November 2023

Project Goal

Gain an understanding of:

  • Why new entrants are attracted to the child care sector, and specifically being a family child care provider (FCC)

  • What challenges to entering the field still exist

  • What supports new FCCs find most helpful in attaining licensure and starting their businesses

  • What supports might be helpful as new FCCs seek to continue their work in the field

  • Why FCCs have recently left the field

  • What would have supported those who left, such that they might have stayed in the field


The final report will include a recommendation section focused on actions that may be taken up by systems change actors, including governmental agencies and philanthropy, across near-, intermediate-, and long-term.

Rationale for Action

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the early childhood education (“child care”, or “ECE”) sector nationwide faced a massive loss of skilled early educator talent. For family child care providers (FCCs), this crisis pre-dates the onset of the pandemic. Massachusetts has fared no better than the rest of the country. This attrition rate has not only raised how the lack of attention to system-building has produced a child care sector in deep need of reform, it has also highlighted the low pay, few benefits, and lack of recognition that most early educators receive. This workforce crisis has been highlighted by state elected officials, in major news media, and by the early childhood community itself. 

There has been a slight silver lining: a small number of new entrants into the field as family child care providers were licensed since 2021. These new entrants, who have decided to enter the field at one of the most difficult times in its history, may offer insight into the field’s value–what makes it worthwhile to enter the field? In addition, learning from those who have left the field in recent years can offer insights to help alleviate, address, or prevent these reasons for attrition–what, if it had been in place, would have made it worthwhile to stay in the field?

Our hope is that this project will lead to concrete actions to support FCC providers as a whole, through various means (policy, regulatory, philanthropy).


The FCC New Entrant Survey is led by Drs. Kimberly Lucas and Wendy Wagner Robeson. Dr. Lucas is a Professor of the Practice at Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban AffairsDr. Robeson is a Senior Research Scientist at the Wellesley Centers for Women.


This short-term project was launched in the summer of 2023, with recommendations expected in early spring 2024. From these recommendations, we anticipate that other projects in support of FCC providers will be launched.

Project FAQs

We are seeking focus group participants! Sign-ups are open until 1/31! 

¡Estamos buscando participantes para nuestros grupos de enfoque! ¡Puede inscribirse hasta 1/31!  


Who should sign up for a focus group? / ¿Quién debe inscribirse para un grupo de enfoque? 

You should take this survey if you left the family child care provider profession between 2020-2023.  

Debe llenar la encuesta si se salió de la profesión de cuidado infantil familiar entre 2020-2023.


How can I sign up for a focus group? / ¿Cómo me puedo inscribir para un grupo de enfoque? 

If you left the family child care provider profession between 2020-2023, you should receive an email with a link to the sign-up form. If not, you can also sign-up here. You can sign-up until January 31, 2024.

Si usted dejó el trabajo del cuidado infantil familiar entre 2020-2023, debe recibir un correo electrónico con un enlace al formulario para inscribirse. Si no recibió el formulario, se puede inscribir aquí. Se puede inscribir hasta el 31 de enero del 2024.


When will the focus groups be held? / ¿Cuándo se realizarán los grupos de enfoque?

Five different focus groups will be held:

Habrán cinco diferentes grupos de enfoque:


  • Monday, February 5 @ 6pm - MetroBoston Region / Lunes, 5 de febrero a las 6pm - Región MetroBoston

  • Friday, February 9 @ 6pm - Northeast Region / Viernes, 9 de febrero a las 6pm - Región Noreste

  • Monday, February 12 @ 6pm - Southeast Region / Lunes, 12 de febrero a las 6pm - Región Sureste

  • Thursday, February 15 @ 6pm - Western Region / Jueves, 15 de febrero a las 6pm - Región Oeste

  • Friday, February 16 @ 6pm - Central Region / Viernes, 16 de febrero a las 6pm - Región Central


Where will the focus groups be held? / ¿Donde se realizarán los grupos de enfoque?

All focus groups will be held online via Zoom. We will provide a Zoom link via email if you are selected for a focus group.

Todos los grupos de enfoque se realizarán en línea a través de Zoom. Si fuiste seleccionado a participar en un grupo de enfoque, le proveeremos un enlace de Zoom a través de su correo electrónico.


When will we know whether we have been selected for a focus group? / ¿Cuándo sabremos si fuimos seleccionados para participar en un grupo de enfoque?

We will notify all selected participants for focus groups on February 2, 2024 via email. If you are selected, we will send the Zoom link along with your notification.

Vamos a avisar a todos los participantes seleccionados para participar en un grupo de enfoque el 2 de febrero del 2024 por correo electrónico. Si fuiste seleccionado, le enviaremos el enlace de Zoom en el mismo correo electrónico.

Thank you for your time / Gracias por su tiempo

As our thank you, a gift card will be sent to you. A $75 gift card will be sent to your email.

Como agradecimiento, le enviaremos una tarjeta regalo (gift card). Le enviaremos una tarjeta regalo de $75 a su correo electrónico.

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