Research Report

Capital Quality Offers Individualized Coaching to Support Quality Improvement: Insights from Child Care Providers in the District of Columbia

Child care quality matters for young children’s learning and development and for parents engaged in work and school activities. Families depend on finding safe, stable, and stimulating care that can meet their needs. To increase the quality of its licensed child care programs, the District of Columbia implemented a new quality rating and improvement system, Capital Quality, District wide in 2018.

Capital Quality offers individualized coaching supports to leaders of participating facilities through coaches called “quality facilitators.” To understand providers’ perspectives on Capital Quality, a research team at the Urban Institute conducted qualitative phone interviews with 36 child care providers and collected survey data from a subsample of these study participants. These child care providers shared their perspectives on different aspects of Capital Quality, including their thoughts about the individualized coaching they had received.

Key findings:

  • Most child care providers in our study reported that a key benefit of participating in Capital Quality is access to individualized coaching.
  • Most participating providers described positive, trusting relationships with their quality coaches.
  • Many providers shared that their quality facilitators give them guidance and support tailored to their needs.
  • Participating providers described varying engagement with their coaches but generally reported specific benefits such as more confidence in their leadership, an increased sense of professionalism, and a deeper understanding of how to improve instructional and care practices.

About two-thirds of providers reported that it is equitable and fair for Capital Quality to tailor the coaching it offers based on provider rating.