Report: Nearly 7 Million Parents Served by Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies Nationwide

March 25, 2008

The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) released its newest report today, which takes an in-depth look at the services Child Care Resource & Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) provide to parents in their local communities. The report entitled, Covering the Map: Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies Providing Vital Services to Parents Throughout the United States, reveals that CCR&Rs reached nearly 7 million parents in 2006 with various services including referrals to child care, subsidy payments, consumer education, language and literacy programs and activities, and training workshops. Additionally, CCR&Rs reported almost 10 million contacts with the parents served throughout the year.

"This report demonstrates that CCR&Rs are doing tremendous work for families and children nationwide," said Linda Smith, Executive Director of NACCRRA. "The work of CCR&Rs is so important to communities, and this report shows that parents realize this. CCR&Rs have become a trusted and vital resource that families can turn to for educational materials, information, and resources, and ultimately to find high-quality child care and the means to afford it."

CCR&Rs are located in every state and most communities across the nation. Together, they serve parents and providers in over 99 percent of all populated zip codes. They work with their communities to identify child care needs and create solutions by recruiting and training nearly 500,000 child care providers and creating 450,000 new child care spaces annually.

Significant findings of the report revealed that almost 39 million parents visited their local CCR&R websites. Additionally, CCR&Rs handled 1.6 million child care referrals via the Internet and telephone, of which 48 percent were for infant/toddler care, 30 percent were for preschool-age children, and 22 percent were for school-age children. CCR&Rs also provided nearly 568,000 referrals to other programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and employment services.

CCR&Rs also distributed almost 11 million pieces of consumer education material to more than 5 million parents in English and other languages and provided training workshops to almost 134,000 parents. Additionally, CCR&Rs administered more than $1.95 billion in child care subsidies to almost 730,000 children.

Nearly 12 million children under age 5 in the United States are in some type of child care arrangement every week. Almost two-thirds of women with children under 6 are in the workforce. Children of working mothers spend an average of 36 hours per week in a child care setting. Research has shown that 90 percent of brain development occurs by age 5, which means the setting in which children spend most of their time is critical to their overall development.

"In today's economy, families rely more than ever on child care to work," said Smith. "Parents in dual-income households, as well as single-parent households, need to work to meet basic household expenses. In order to work, parents need child care and they need help identifying and finding high-quality child care where their children can thrive physically, emotionally and mentally. CCR&Rs provide families with options and the knowledge to make informed decisions so they can work with peace of mind knowing that their children are in care that safeguards their health and safety and promotes development and learning."

In order to ensure the continued work of CCR&Rs across the nation, NACCRRA recommends that Congress reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and increase the quality set-aside to 12 percent; require adequate amounts to be allocated toward consumer education on child care to help parents make informed decisions; and authorize specific funds for a community-based child care provider training system administered through the CCR&Rs to strengthen the quality of child care across the nation.

CCDBG funding is the primary federal funding source for child care in the United States. It provides $11 billion in funds for quality investments and subsidies, and each state determines how the funds will be used within broad federal parameters. In order to receive funds from CCDBG, states must have policies in place designed to protect the health and safety of children. Under current law, a minimum of 4 percent of these funds are set aside to improve child care quality.

Covering the Map: Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies Providing Vital Services to Parents Throughout the United States is a detailed compilation of survey results based on responses from 189 local CCR&Rs representative of the CCR&R population based on region, budget size, and organizational structure. The survey asked detailed questions about child care and other referral services, consumer education, parent workshops, and child care subsidy management. Questions answered are subject to a sampling error of plus or minus 6 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.

For a full copy of the report, please visit www.naccrra.org. To be connected to your local CCR&R, visit www.childcareaware.org or call toll-free 1 (800) 424-2246. Through the Child Care Aware® network, parents need only provide their zip code to be connected to their local CCR&R.