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Policy frameworks and parental choice: Using conjoint analysis to understand parental decision making for child care

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Davison, A, M,, Burns, S., Hampton, D., White, L., & Perlman, M.
Publication Date: 
7 Jul 2021

Excerpted from abstract

Many children in Canada and the United States experience poor-quality child care on a regular basis. Under the rubric of “parent choice,” governments continue to permit a variety of licensed care providers (centers and homes) as well as unlicensed home child care providers. Research suggests, however, that parents are not well-informed consumers about child care services, unaware of even the basic characteristics of their child’s care. In this study, we provide findings from a latent profile analysis based on a conjoint survey conducted in Toronto, Canada to better understand the factors that influence parents’ decisions in selecting child care services. Based on responses from over 700 parents, we identify five classes of parents that reflect a range of preferences in selecting child care. However, most groups show a strong preference for licensed early childhood education and care (ECEC) options. Limitations of this study and implications for policy are discussed.