Instability in Child Care Settings: Insights from Three State Contexts

Author: ORCID icon
Doromal, Justin, Education - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Bassok, Daphna, CU-Leadshp, Fndns & Pol Studies, University of Virginia

A vast body of evidence demonstrates the importance of stability for child development and family functioning. In the early care and education (ECE) context, this means that children have consistency in early educational experiences, and that families have reliable child care that allows them to support their household. Put simply, a stable a well-supported ECE systems helps young children and their families thrive.

In the United States, the majority of children ages 0-5 receive these ECE experiences through independently operated child care businesses. Unfortunately, the child care sector is characterized as a struggling and volatile industry, where many programs face difficulties keeping their teachers and even just staying open. This instability can compromise children’s development and poses challenges for ECE programs’ ability to function and effectively serve children and their families. However, the lack of systemwide longitudinal data in child care has made it challenging to document the prevalence and implications of these issues for efforts to strengthen child care.

Using new data from three different state contexts, the papers in this dissertation examine center closures (Chapter 1) and teacher turnover (Chapters 2 and 3) in the child care sector. Collectively, the papers offer new insights into the scope of instability among child care providers and explore the potential correlates and consequences for ECE quality improvement initiatives. The findings have relevance for stakeholders seeking to strengthen and reform child care, particularly following the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
child care, teacher turnover, leadership, organization functioning, early childhood policy
Sponsoring Agency:
Institute of Education Sciences Pre-Doctoral Training Program (R305B140026)American Educational Research Association Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program
Issued Date: