Parents Rank Quality as Top Concern in Child Care

Bright Horizons
In an overwhelming majority, quality emerged as the foremost concern for parents when it comes to child care, as reported in a National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) survey. Parents ranked cost as their second concern, revealing the critical importance of curriculum, environment, and preparation for school in child care settings.    

NACCRRA interviewed close to 600 parents with young children about their perceptions of and priorities for child care. The organization found that parents want affordable access to safe environments where the focus is on learning for their children. Specifically, parents reported that the most important goals for child care were 'providing a safe and healthy environment' and 'preparing children to enter school ready to learn.'     

When asked to define 'quality,' the top responses were having 'caregivers who are loving and nurturing' and 'caregivers who have specialized training in child development.' (Click here to review the Bright Horizons Quality Child Care Checklist.)  

Cost, as a runner up to quality, also concerned parents. Those interviewed said that making child care affordable was the most important or one of the most important ways to help working families. In fact, 80 percent of parents interviewed would agree to a $10 increase in taxes to improve the quality of child care.  

NACCRRA also surveyed parents' assumptions about child care. Among parental assumptions are:

  • Some entity is responsible for monitoring and enforcing basic health and safety standards
  • Caregivers have training in child development, basic first aid, CPR, and recognizing abuse
  • Providers undergo background checks
Based on these assumptions and given that standards can vary by state, NACCRRA calls for all states to 'help ensure that children are both safe and learning while their parents work' by requiring:

  • minimum training for caregivers in child development, guidance and discipline, first-aid/CPR, and recognizing child abuse, among others before working with children
  • ongoing training and development
  • regular assessment of training programs
  • background checks, including fingerprinting, before working with children
  • unannounced inspections on a quarterly basis
  • developmentally appropriate care to help all children arrive at school ready to learn
To learn more about NACCRRA, please visit  

To learn more about how Bright Horizons Family Solutions creates safe environments that foster learning and prepare children for school, please visit:

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About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
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