Understanding the Parent Aware Experience
Understanding the experiences that child care professionals have with Parent Aware is the key to creating a program that is responsive to their needs. A recent survey conducted by Child Trends gives us the opportunity to learn more about these experiences. Child Trends surveyed Minnesota child care providers that participate in Parent Aware, that have never participated in Parent Aware, and that used to participate but no longer hold a Rating. The survey included 1,139 licensed family child care providers, 341 child care centers, and 147 public school prekindergarten or Head Start programs.
We learned that 86% of Parent Aware Full-Rating pathway participants* have an overall positive impression of the program. Over 80% of Rated programs also increased the quality of their care in important ways, and 72% said that they are more committed overall to the early care and education field. These providers had lots of reasons for joining Parent Aware, but the two most common reasons were to be eligible for Parent Aware Grants and to be able to accept Early Learning Scholarships.
Information from this survey is consistent with our own surveys of participants in the Rating process. In the two surveys we did in 2018, 90% of participants reported an overall positive experience with Parent Aware. Participants were also very positive about their Quality Coaches and the availability and usefulness of training.
Information about non-Rated providers also helps us better understand and address their concerns about Parent Aware. While almost all of those surveyed by Child Trends said they had heard of Parent Aware, only 19% said that they had a lot of knowledge about the program. The top reason they gave for not joining Parent Aware was that they didn’t need it to attract families to their programs.
The vast majority of non-Rated and Full-Rating Pathway providers believed that parents should consider a program’s quality when searching for care, but unsurprisingly, they disagreed considerably on whether or not parents should consider a program’s Parent Aware Rating, and whether or not Parent Aware Ratings are useful to parents.
*Full-Rating Pathway participants are generally family child care programs and child care centers without national accreditation.