Why We Care about Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care

A Message from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust


Our Great Expectations initiative works to ensure that children in Forsyth County enter kindergarten ready to learn and leave set for success in school and life. We believe that listening to and learning from our community is an essential part of everything we do.

Through this listening process, we have learned that families experiencing poverty in Forsyth County—often families of color—have not had a strong voice in decision-making when it comes to addressing the needs of their children. We have also learned that approximately two-thirds of young children in Forsyth County are not in licensed child care.

That’s why we asked Compass Evaluation and Research to conduct this Family, Friend and Neighbor Care Study. Compass surveyed over 1200 parents and over 300 caregivers in Forsyth County to learn more about informal child care arrangements. We wanted to understand parents’ preferences and challenges, find out why only 34% of young children in the County are enrolled in licensed and regulated care—and discover what parents need most regarding child care. 

“We learned that there aren’t obvious, easy, or straight-forward decisions when choosing child care. This especially is true for lower-income parents, who may struggle with the accessibility and affordability of care arrangements,” says Dr. Laura Gerald, President of the Kate B. Reynolds Trust. “This report is the first step to improve our understanding of the informal child care system as we determine how to best support informal caregivers and the families they serve.”

Why this matters

  • There are over 27,000 children ages birth through five in Forsyth County. 
  • For two-thirds of these children, child care arrangements include care by parents/guardians, trusted relatives and friends, as well as part-day/part-week child care.  
  • Parents work to find the solution that best fits their situation, however the resulting child care arrangements may not meet all their goals.

We are excited to present this report from Compass, containing the full data results from the surveys. We are working together to analyze this data further and determine how to best support families and caregivers in informal childcare arrangements. We look forward to sharing what we continue to learn and working with all of you to improve child care in Forsyth County.

Download the full report here.