oec: Early Care and Education Unmet Need Report

Early Care and Education Unmet Need Report

Market Research Assessing Connecticutís Early Childhood Care Capacity and Access


The Office of Early Childhood is working towards providing universal access to early care and education opportunities for children birth to age 5.  This research project takes a close look at which families can or cannot access care with reasonable effort that is:

  • affordable,
  • meets a childís developmental needs (is of high quality), and
  • meets the familyís needs (hours, etc.). 

This project will gather information to target investments and policy changes to address disparities and gaps so that state expansion and integration efforts can be most effective.  For example, data from this report will contribute to decisions regarding:

  • rate setting
  • blending and braiding funding
  • reforming eligibility and program requirements
  • restructuring administration of early care and education systems
  • targeting bond funds
  • targeting outreach

This report goes beyond anything that the OEC has yet tackled regarding unmet needs analysis.  It will encompass children ages 0-5, be statewide, and include all options available to families including private settings, school based preschool, and unlicensed care in addition to specific state and federally funded programs (such as School Readiness, Preschool Development Grant, Child Daycare Centers, Head Start, etc.)  Equity is of particular importance to the OEC and analysis of access will be undertaken to tease out any disparities in access by age, race, income, or priority population status.

The Report: 

The report is projected to be completed in the Spring of 2016.  It will have the following components.

Introduction: Describing the national context of early childhood policy and OECís vision for CT.

Chapter 1: Defining Common Terms

Explaining the complex early care and education funding streams and regulations in Connecticut as well as the reportís multidimensional definition of access.

Chapter 2: Describing Demographics of Connecticutís Youngest Children

Describing and mapping demographic information about the current population of families with young children in Connecticut with major analysis of race, age, income and priority populations.

Chapter 3: Understanding the Needs of Connecticut Families

Describing the varying needs and preferences of families in Connecticut regarding early care and education including the results of a major family survey.

Chapter 4: Describing the Portfolio of Connecticutís Early Care and Education Providers

Describing and mapping the existing early care and education options available to parents with information about funding streams, hours of care, and other details of supply.

Chapter 5: Assessing Access to Care and Education Options by Comparing Demand with Supply: Who has and lacks access?

This chapter will use traditional analysis along with geographic analysis to tease out where disparities in access exist and for which families.  It will combine information about the needs and preference of parent groups, the details of early care and education settings available, and the distribution of families across Connecticut.


The Team:


The Office of Early Childhood has assembled a team of national experts to undertake this complex analysis. 

National Research Partners: These two organizations are partnering to take the lead on analysis for the report.

  • Child Trends:  Child Trends is the nationís leading nonprofit research organization focused exclusively on improving the lives and prospects of children, youth, and their families. For 36 years, decision makers have relied on their rigorous research, unbiased analyses, and clear communications to improve public policies and interventions that serve children and families.


    They have more than 120 staff in three offices and multiple locations around the country, including their headquarters in Bethesda, Md. They are multi-disciplinary, and their workforce reflects the diversity of children and families in the U.S. Their work is supported by many of the nationís largest foundations; by federal, state and local government agencies; and by leading nonprofit organizations.




  • Azavea: Azavea specializes in the creation of geographic web and mobile software, as well as geospatial analysis services to enhance decision-making.  They are committed to working on projects with strong social value in order to promote the emergence of more vibrant and sustainable communities.


    They provide clients access to advanced geospatial technologies through highly-crafted and easy-to-use web software, and personalized geospatial analysis services.  They are committed to enabling our clients to answer complex questions in a wide variety of domains: natural resource planning, neighborhood revitalization, sustainable growth and economic development, crime analysis, real estate property analysis, redistricting, political advocacy, and cultural resources management to name a few.



National Advisory Group:  A national advisory group meets periodically to bring national expertise and insight into the project with regard to research questions, definitions, analytic approaches, work scope, and data.  This group is made up of the following people

  • Ajay Chaudry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (help to craft President Obamaís early childhood policies)
  • Anne Mitchell, Early Childhood Policy Research (a national leader on early care and education financing and cost modeling)
  • David Murphey, Child Trends (a nationally policy analysis expert on children and child care)
  • Christina Weiland, University of Michigan School of Education (a national expert on early care and education quality research)
  • Katherine Kauffman, Bridgespan Consulting (a national expert on improving business management in the nonprofit and private sector)
  • Rupa Datta, NORC, University of Chicago (the lead researcher on a national survey of child care)

Local Advisory Group:  The Office of Early Childhood has engaged a number of local early childhood research experts who have deep knowledge of the data and policy context of Connecticut and have published extensively on the topic.  Some are engaged primarily in an advisory capacity and others have been tasked with discrete portions of the analysis.  Mary Farnsworth, Strategic Planner and Project Manager for OEC

Project Management:

  • CT Economic Resource Center is managing the entire market research project under the guidance of Alissa DeJonge, Director of Research and Project Manager for CERC with OEC oversight from Mary Farnsworth, Strategic Planner.


For any question regarding the report, please contact Mary Farnsworth at mary.farnsworth@ct.gov

Content Last Modified on 3/11/2016 11:36:35 AM