Our work with government agencies includes the provision of a broad range of services, such as:
- Child care market rate studies
- Child care workforce studies
- Evaluations of child care systems, programs and pilot projects
- Needs assessments
- Development of training programs, conferences, seminars and workshops
- Development of special projects such as multi-media presentations on work-life issues and parenting
- Research on work-life issues and trends such as flexible work arrangements, subsidy programs and non-traditional hours for child care
Some of our experience includes the completion of research studies and projects for state governments in Massachusetts, Maine, North Carolina, Utah, Michigan, Colorado and Vermont. Committed to a collaborative, team approach, Mills Consulting Group provides clients with an objective base of knowledge for making informed decisions.
State of New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services-Maternal and Child Health Bureau
We were hired to manage the development of NH’s Early Childhood Comprehensive System Plan Project. This project consisted of various tasks, which included: 1) Convening an Advisory Group of key stakeholders to assist them in determining the plan’s mission, goals and process for development; 2) Conducting an environmental scan of existing early childhood services by completing interviews with key representatives from across the state regarding the system’s best practices and areas for improvement; 3) Convening four Strategic Planning Groups to review research from findings, and to develop goals and objectives for the plan; 4) Gathering feedback from parents across the state through focus group meetings. We were involved in the development of the draft ECCS Plan goals and objectives based on research and input from all Planning Groups, and assisted in formulating these goals and objectives into a final strategic planning document.
Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
Mills Consulting Group completed two Child Care Market Rate studies for EEC, which involved surveying licensed providers in the Commonwealth. The objective for both studies was to collect and analyze market rates by the six EEC regions for family child care providers, child care centers and school age programs. For the 2008 study we added ZIP codes and abbreviated the scripts from the previous MRS, used NACCRRAWare® as a data source, pilot tested the survey, and worked closely with the CCR&R Network to assist CCR&R regional staff in interviewing and disseminating the questionnaires. We provided reports to EEC with rates charged by region, city and town, and ZIP code, among other factors.
We developed and implemented an evaluation of the Child Care Inclusion Project, a pilot program designed both to assist families of children with emotional, behavioral and physical special needs in finding appropriate child care placements, as well as to support the social and emotional development of young children. The evaluation focused on the coordination of services among child care resource and referral agencies, mental health agencies, child care programs and Regional Consultation Programs. We were able to provide Inclusion Project administrators with recommendations on best practices and considerations for moving the Project forward.
We worked on a project with EEC and the state Commission on School Readiness, a governor-appointed commission set up to examine the critical issue of preparing Massachusetts’ young children to succeed in school. Mills Consulting Group was hired to design and implement a plan for gathering the public’s response to recommendations put forth by the Commission, and to analyze the results of the responses gathered. Our analysis was then integrated into the final report, which the Commission presented to the Acting Governor at the time and to state legislators for their review and consideration.
Mills Consulting Group provided evaluation, research and consultation services to study the complex issues of recruitment and retention of the state’s early education staff. Our final report, titled Early Care and Education Staff Recruitment and Retention was published by the state. The project involved written surveys as well as extensive interviews with center directors, teachers, personnel at colleges and universities, foundations that fund child care initiatives and organizations that develop child care training programs for newcomer populations. The report presented an analysis of this data and also provided the state with innovative short-and long-term recommendations aimed at improving recruitment and retention of child care staff in Massachusetts. This report has been eagerly requested from various agencies across the country.
Fairfax County Department of Family Services
Here we worked on a research study for the Department which involved gathering baseline data on the child care workforce in the County. Data was collected through a survey sent to all providers and via focus groups, allowing us to report on a combination of both quantitative and qualitative data. Results were analyzed, and a written report of research data and findings provided a comprehensive picture of information on the child care workforce, thus enabling the Department to support the development of strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of child care experiences and school readiness activities for children throughout Fairfax County.
North Carolina Partnership for Children- Smart Start
For two years Ms. Mills served as a managing partner for a Smart Start capacity building initiative in North Carolina. Here she worked to assess services provided for children and families by 16 county partnership groups, to assist them in identifying where gaps in services appeared and in designing strategic plans toward the development of a stronger child care system. The project required Ms. Mills to work closely with members of partnerships including representatives from agencies such as the Department of Social Services and the Department of Public Health, community leaders in early childhood and elementary education, and local government officials.
Utah Office for Child Care
Mills Consulting Group completed an in-depth study of the Utah child care workforce for the Utah Office for Children. The study surveyed all child care providers in Utah, identified barriers to recruit and retain providers, and provided short- and long-term recommendations to support and sustain a strong child care workforce. Data was collected through written surveys, focus groups and interviews. The recommendations we developed were used in the design of a new provider training initiative linked to a local college, and a public relations campaign aimed at revealing the value of quality child care.
Maine Office of Child Care and Head Start The firm worked with the State of Maine’s Office of Child Care and Head Start to identify effective strategies to address child care issues, which included access for families, compensation, benefits, and professional development for providers in the state. This involved a statewide survey of all licensed child care centers and registered family child care providers. From the results of this survey, we created the Maine Child Care Market Rate and Workforce Study, in which child care market rates were determined as was current capacity for care and future need for child care in the state. We then completed a follow-up study, which collected similar information and reported on the comparisons between the data from 2002 and 2004.