Family, Friend and Neighbor Care: What Is It?
Family, friend and neighbor (FFN) providers include grandparents, aunts and uncles, elders, older siblings, friends, neighbors, and others who help families take care of their kids on an informal basis. FFN providers are unlicensed and not regulated by the state, although some FFN providers can receive child care subsidies for the care they provide. Both in Washington and around the nation, FFN care is the most common type of child care for infants and toddlers, and for school-age children before and after school.
Why FFN care?
Families choose FFN care for a number of reasons, including:
- Existing bonds of love and trust with a family member, friend or neighbor
- Shared language, culture, and values
- Families raising a child with special health or behavioral needs choose FFN care as the best match for their child
- Some families need the greater flexibility of FFN care in order to meet non-traditional work hours
Most FFN providers view themselves as extended family or surrogate parents, rather than professional child care providers. One of the predominant reasons FFN providers say they do this work is that they enjoy being with the children they care for, and they enjoy helping parents. In many cultures, FFN care is not seen as a child care arrangement but as a way the family and community work together to raise children.