, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 129-150

A Comparative Study of Structural and Process Quality in Center-Based and Family-Based Child Care Services

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Abstract

This study seeks to determine whether center-based and family-based child care services differ with respect to process quality, as measured by the Educative Quality Observation Scales (EQOS, Bourgon and Lavallée 2004a, b, c), for groups of children 18 months old and younger. It also seeks to identify structural variables associated with process quality in these settings. The study included two types of regulated child care settings located in the greater Montreal area (center-based: N = 53 and family-based: N = 36). Results indicate that process quality was lower in family-based child care than in center-based child care for the majority of elements measured by the EQOS. Hierarchical regression analyses indicate that higher levels of process quality were associated with structural variables, including a lower adult-child ratio, the presence of more staff with specialized early childhood education training, and center-based care. The discussion focuses on strategies to improve these types of child care services.