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.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project with a grant of $101,193 from February 2003 to May 2004.