Before the 1996 federal welfare reform, home-based childcare was either overlooked or looked down upon. Since then, there has been a flurry of research investigating kith and kin childcare - which makes up approximately 73% of child care in the U.S. This essay provides insight into who provides home-based care and the quality of that care.

Author Biography

Toni Porter has been the Director of the Institute for a Child Care Continuum (formerly the Center for Family Support) at the Bank Street College of Education since 1992. Among her studies on kith and kin care are Neighborhood Child Care: Family, Friends and Neighbors Talk About Caring for Other People’s Children; and, with Rena Rice, Lessons Learned: Strategies for Working with Kith and Kin Caregivers and Doting on Kids: Understanding Quality in Kith and Kin Child Care. She was a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy, in July, 2004.

Shannon Kearns was the Research and Program Associate at the Institute for a Child Care Continuum from 2002 until 2005. She helped develop the Child Care Assessment Tool for Relatives, an observation instrument for evaluating quality in kith and kin care. She is now enrolled in a graduate program in social work.



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