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Mixed Delivery Systems Encourage Parent Choice and Strengthen Child Care Programs

Resource June 24, 2021

As policymakers seek to reform and invest in America’s child care and early learning system, a crucial component must be ensuring families are able to choose care options that work best for them. Many states that offer public early education for children from birth through age five rely on a strong mixed delivery system, which enables some—or all—publicly-funded Pre-K slots to be offered in diverse settings that meet health, safety, and performance standards. 

For example, in a mixed delivery system, Pre-K slots are offered in child care programs, including center-based child care and family child care homes, that operate for a full day and full year. This means that a variety of settings can meet a parent’s needs for child care that aligns with their work hours.

The Bipartisan Policy Center center recently released a report on four states – Washington, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia – that have successfully implemented a mixed delivery model that supports parent choice and efficiencies within a blended funding system for child care programs. 

One size does not fit all when it comes to child care settings — what works for one family may not work for another and parents need the ability to choose providers that meet their unique needs. This report analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the mixed delivery systems in each state, including parent choice and the efficiencies within a blended funding system

For years, Red and Blue states alike have led the way in expanding access to high-quality early learning opportunities for children. Now, lawmakers in Washington have unveiled a number of proposals aimed at ensuring child care and early learning are available and affordable to every family in America who needs it. These policy proposals will be most successful and effective if they incorporate and prioritize mixed delivery. 

Read the full report from the Bipartisan Policy Center online here


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