About the Study

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment is currently conducting a study of family, friend, neighbor (FFNs), and nanny caregivers in California. The study comprises four components: two surveys of parents of children under age 6, one survey of their FFN and nanny caregivers, and focus groups with caregivers. CSCCE partnered with the RAPID Survey Project at the Stanford Center on Early Childhood to implement the survey components.

We are interested in all types of personal child care arrangements, such as from unpaid grandparents or paid nanny shares. Through this project, we hope to learn more about caregivers’ experiences, strengths, and challenges. The study aims to a) uplift FFN and nanny caregivers and their value to families, and b) inform policy conversations in California and beyond.

Project Timeline

Phase One: Surveying Parents and Their Caregivers

In fall 2023, we surveyed approximately 1,400 parents about their experiences and preferences for child care arrangements. Many partner organizations supported us in conducting parent outreach. In particular, the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network* (Network), Parent Voices, and Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) took on a leadership role. These organizations also provided vital input on the topics in the survey. 

Parents completed the survey and shared the values that drive their choices and the costs and challenges they face. Many also expressed a deep appreciation for care by grandparents, nannies, and other FFN caregivers. 

Following the parent survey, CSCCE and RAPID conducted a survey of approximately 400 FFN and nanny caregivers. Many caregivers participated thanks to a referral from a parent who took our original survey. Additional participants learned of the FFN survey through outreach led by the Network and the Child Care Providers Union.

* While R&R agencies around the state helped promote the study, the following organizations participated in extended outreach locally:

  • San Diego YMCA
  • BANANAS Child Care Referrals and Resources
  • Del Norte Child Care Council
  • Siskiyou Child Care Council
  • Children’s Council San Francisco
  • Merced County Office of Education

Phase Two: Caregiver Focus Groups

In summer 2023, CSCCE conducted focus groups with FFN and nanny caregivers around the state. Participants from the caregiver survey were invited to attend. Approximately 10% of the survey sample joined a session with us, including grandparents, aunties, nannies, and more. Seven caregivers attended one of our Spanish-language sessions.

Phase Three: Parent Data Reflection and Follow-up Survey

Working with Parent Voices, CSCCE has convened a Parent Advisory Group. The Advisory Group participated in listening sessions and gave feedback on our first parent survey. In summer 2023, group members also gave feedback on our follow-up parent survey. This final parent survey took place in fall of 2023 in partnership with RAPID.