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Making It Work: Examining the Status of Non-Traditional Child Care in Pennsylvania

As the number of jobs that require non-traditional work schedules (evenings, weekends, and overnight) increases, families’ need for child care during non-traditional hours has also grown. An estimated more than 150,000 Pennsylvania families with young children have likely need for non-traditional child care (NTCC). However, only one in four child care providers offer any form of NTCC and, even with generous estimates, there are over three families for every available NTCC seat.

Little is known about the availability of NTCC in Pennsylvania. To contribute to a wider understanding of this topic, Research for Action (RFA) conducted an initial examination of non-traditional child care to answer the following questions:

  • What types of families rely on NTCC?
  • What factors inform a family’s decisions about where to place their children?
  • How well are NTCC providers meeting the needs of families?
  • What does high-quality mean in the context of after-hours, overnight, and weekend care?
  • What impact does the availability of NTCC, or lack thereof, have on Pennsylvania’s workforce?

In a new report, “Making it Work: Examining the Status of Non-Traditional Child Care in Pennsylvania,” RFA sought answers to these and other questions by analyzing available quantitative data and conducting focus groups and interviews with families, NTCC providers, and workforce development board staff in Allegheny, Philadelphia, and several North Central Pennsylvania counties.

We conclude the report by identifying areas in need of additional research and considerations for policymakers seeking to improve circumstances for families and outcomes for children using NTCC.

Click here to download a bibliography and technical appendix.