The COVID-19 pandemic brought widespread disruption to the national child care market. In Rhode Island, family child care providers were disproportionally negatively affected. In response, since late 2021, Rhode Island has offered child care providers support through initiatives aimed at improving program sustainability, workforce development, and retention. These supports include stabilization and start-up grants, educator retention bonuses, and a self-assessment tool.

EDC is partnering with the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS) to conduct a mixed-methods study, Exploring Targeted Investments in Rhode Island’s Family Child Care Program Sustainability and Workforce Development, to inform DHS about the utilization and effects of these initiatives.This work is funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Key Activities

The project team is carrying out the following activities:

  • Conducting a descriptive study to understand the landscape of family child care providers utilizing these initiatives between 2021 and 2024
  • Conducting an outcome evaluation to examine the correlations between initiative use and program sustainability, workforce retention, and quality over time
  • Surveying family child care providers about how they made use of the funding investments, understand business practices, and understand their approach to professional development
  • Surveying families to understand their experiences with child care to examine if there is an association between families’ perceptions of care and external quality measures
  • Convening advisors from the field, including multiple family child care providers, to inform research activities and assist with data interpretation
  • Participating in a national community of practice aimed at fostering common research activities across grantee states


  • Findings from the study will help inform the Rhode Island DHS about the utilization and effects of targeted initiatives and will inform the understanding of OPRE leaders of how such supports can affect family child care providers’ sustainability, workforce development, and quality
  • Results may be used to inform the funding of future supports for child care providers

Learn More

Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Rhode Island Department of Health and Human Services