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Engaging Parent and Provider Voice to Examine Equitable Access to Early Childhood Programs and Services

Archived Meeting Resources
August 24, 2022

This session was presented during the BUILD 2021 National Conference.

Access to early childhood programs and services goes beyond just measuring the supply, or “open seats” for services in a community. In two briefs, Defining and Measuring Access to High-Quality Early Care and Education: A Guidebook for Policymakers and Researchers and Conceptualizing and Measuring Access to Early Care and Education, Child Trends has introduced and described the Access Framework, a family-centered, multi-dimensional definition of access. From a family-centered perspective, access means that early childhood programs and services are: 1) affordable; 2) meet parents’ needs; 3) support children’s development; and 4) require a reasonable amount of effort to find. Over the past year, Child Trends has been working with a cohort of seven state and community grantees of the Pritzker’s Children’s Initiative to apply the four dimensions of the Access Framework to evaluate access to a variety of programs including: early care and education programs, coordinated intake and referral, home visiting, child welfare, and other programs and services for young children. This cohort is especially working toward developing programs and services that provide equitable access to families from all racial and ethnic backgrounds by applying the Access Framework to consider the access experiences of families from different racial and ethnic groups. In this session we will provide an overview of the four dimensions of the Access Framework, provide examples of how this framework is being used to guide an assessment of equitable access to child care in New Jersey and other states and communities across the nation. We will offer key questions you can use to assess equitable access for specified groups of children and families in your state or community.

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