Measuring the quality of informal home-based care programs
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Informal child care has a long history and remains a popular choice for many parents, especially parents with infants and toddlers and families with low-incomes. As researchers we need to know more about informal arrangements, the quality of these programs, and how informal child care is best measured. The purpose of this study is to validate the Quality Instrument for Informal Child Care (QIC) as one measure that can be used to appropriately assess the quality of informal child care arrangements. The overall goal is to develop a reliable and valid tool that can be used by providers, practitioners, and researchers. Results indicate that the QIC has high levels of inter-rater reliability and internal consistency. The QIC was also shown to have face, content, and convergent validity with the Family Day Care Rating Scale (FDCRS) and Caregiver Interaction Scale (CIS). The strengths of the QIC, as compared to the FDCRS, are that it is easier to score, less subjective, and does not require an interview for non-observable items. Due to the simple design, it is also likely that training would be minimal. Because the QIC is highly correlated with the FDCRS and CIS it could be used in lieu of those two instruments and would be a less intrusive alternative for both research and program improvement.
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