Millions of families rely on relatives, friends, and neighbors to care for their children while the parents work, attend school, or participate in job training. Family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) care is used by families of all races and ethnicities, of all income levels, and with children of all ages. Families may choose FFN care because it is the option that is most comfortable and familiar, most flexible, most affordable, or provides children with the most individualized attention.

FFN providers are a very diverse group—they may provide care for a short-term period or for the long-term, may be paid or unpaid, and may or may not have a previous relationship with the family. Generally, these providers care for a small number of children in the provider’s own home and are typically legally exempt from regulatory or licensing requirements (which vary widely by state).

This fact sheet provides key data on FFN providers and the families who rely on FFN care.

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