Ties That Bind and Heal: Linking Child Care Centers to Health Services

Review of federal and state family policies and their potential implications for positive social ties among low-income Americans

From February 2003 through May 2004, researchers at Public/Private Ventures in Philadelphia analyzed how linking child care with health services could improve low-income and minority children's access to and quality of health care.

Drawing on interviews with experts in policy, health and child care, their report—Linking the Child Care and Health Care Systems: A Consideration of Options—provides funders and policy-makers with a framework for thinking about future interventions.

Public/Private Ventures is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the effectiveness of social policies, programs and community initiatives, especially as they affect youth and young adults.

Key Results

  • Researchers produced a report that analyzes key strategies for linking child care services with children's health care, along with analyzing federal and state funded initiatives targeting low-income young children and their families.

Key Findings

  • Researchers reported several reasons why linking child care and health services could contribute to better health outcomes for young children.

  • Discussion with experts revealed a number of strategies for linking child care services with children's health care.

  • The researchers identified two key issues that should be considered when trying to improve the links between the health care system and early child care.

Key Recommendations

  • Focus on one or two major outcomes and use a small number of well-defined strategies to achieve them.

  • Given the small proportion of infants and toddlers and Hispanic children who use child care centers, consider placing the locus of activities in child care resource and referral agencies.

  • Begin with public/private funding partnerships to help stabilize the program's funding sources.