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Status of Child Care
2023 Report
A Detailed Look at Quality Child Care through an Ecological Framework 

Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory is one of the most accepted explanations regarding the influence of social environments on human, and child, development. This theory argues that the environment you grow up in affects every facet of your life with social factors determining your way of thinking, the emotions you feel, and even your likes and dislikes.

This report looks at how a child develops within the landscape of their family, community, and societal systems.

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The five ecological systems include:

  • Microsystem: This is a child's immediate environment. These are significant others who have direct contact with the child such as parents, family, teachers, communities of worship, neighbors, etc.
     

  • Mesosystem: The relationships between the groups from the first system (i.e. how the microsystems connect within their structures, such as parent-teacher, parent-church, etc.)
     

  • Exosystem: Factors that affect an individual’s life but, the elements of this system don’t have a direct relationship with the individual.
     

  • Macrosystem: Contains those cultural elements that affect the individual and everyone around them. These are things such as morals, values, laws, customs, and their influential presence in the other layers.
     

  • Chronosystem: The stage of life that the individual is in regarding the situations they’re going through. This system is relative to the timing of events in a child's life.

To better understand the scope of child development and education, let's examine “quality” child care through the lens of Brofenbrenner’s ecological system’s theory.

Hover over any of the circles below to learn more about that system and its effect on a child's life.

Overall Child Well-Being in Alabama

As outlined in Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory, a child’s chances of thriving depend not only on individual, family and community characteristics but also on the state in which they are born and raised. States vary in their wealth and other resources with policy choices and investments providing additional influence on a children’s chances for success.

The below Dashboard is meant to give you a snapshot into current statistics and data related to the overall wellbeing of children across Alabama.

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Economic Well-Being

Economic success of a family plays a critical role in a child's healthy development. Ongoing exposure to economic stress can negatively affect a child's physical and mental health, social-emotional well being, and academic success.

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Education

Establishing the foundation for a child's academic success starts before birth and continues on well into the elementary school years. With a strong beginning, followed by ongoing quality education and support, children are more likely to have academic success in school, graduate, pursue postsecondary education and/or training, and successfully transition into adulthood.

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Health

Children's good health is fundamental to their overall development. Children who face disadvantages such as inadequate community or family resources, family stress, or trauma tend to experience worse health outcomes. Equitable access to health care is a key component of solving these issues.

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Family + Community

Children who live with nurturing families in safe, supportive communities generally have stronger personal connections, higher educational achievement, and better mental and behavioral health. Community resources and support are also critical to a parents ability to positively encourage their child's development.

Data Dashboard
Total Population
Preschool Aged Children (Age 4)

8,055

8,191

Preschool Aged Children (Age 3)

Data: VOICES for Alabama's Children 2022 Kids Count Data Book

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Economic Well-Being
Children in Poverty in Alabama

Number: 245,000

23%

Children under age 5 in Poverty

In Alabama, a family of four earning less than $26,496 is considered living in poverty.

22%

Children whose parents lack secure employment

Number: 330,000

30%

Children with food insecurity

Number: 216,040

20%

Children receiving child care subsidy

As of June 2022

Children under age 5 in poverty
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Data Sources
  • Dombro, A.L., J. Jablon, & C. Stetson (2020). Powerful Interactions: How to Connect with Children to Extend Their Learning. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: NAEYC. 

  • CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

  • Wong, A. (2023). Child care crisis: What costly daycare and fewer workers mean for US economy and taxpayers. USA Today. 

  • Education Lab (2023). What subjects have teacher shortages? Alabama schools want more staff in these high-demand areas. AL.com. 

  • Hardy, A. (2023). CCDBG FY 2023 State-by-State Appropriations Distribution Estimates and Increases. Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). 

  • Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book

  • Georgetown University Center for Children and Families analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey (ACS), Table S2701: Selected Characteristics of Health Insurance Coverage in the United States.

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