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Investigating Philadelphia’s Uncertified Childcare Providers

Geography Pennsylvania

Reinvestment Fund’s ChildCare Map provides information about the location, size, and quality of early childcare centers operating in Philadelphia. When ChildCare Map launched in 2014 researchers identified a large number of “uncertified providers”—childcare centers operating in Philadelphia, but not listed in the state’s OCDEL database. Uncertified providers operate outside of the state’s official records, and therefore very little information exists about their size, services, or quality. Moreover, these uncertified providers do not participate in the Keystone STARS Program, Pennsylvania’s quality rating system for early childcare providers.

As policymakers work to expand access to high quality childcare and push for greater participation in the STARS program, gaining a clearer understanding of the full landscape of early childcare is more critical than ever. This white paper investigates the location and characteristics of the 1,205 uncertified providers identified in the most recent Childcare Map.

This work is supported by a grant from The William Penn Foundation. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the William Penn Foundation. Other organizations involved in the provision, rating, funding and technical support to childcare organizations around the city of Philadelphia also contributed invaluable subject matter expertise to this effort.

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