Gane-Gane-Gane: Public-Private Co-responsibility for Early Childhood Care and Women’s Labor Insertion
It is always said that the availability of quality childhood development services depends on coordination among multiple actors. However, there is one extra element that can make a big difference: the role of companies. In Costa Rica, as in the rest of the region, co-responsibility for early childhood care is not getting enough attention from companies and infant development centers, a situation that has a negative impact on service quality. This project helps turn people’s eyes to this area of opportunity, treating corporate co-responsibility as a strategy that is necessary for the sustainability and quality of early childhood care. This innovation fosters the creation of copayment systems to promote badly needed and currently scarce efforts to support and monitor quality. It will also validate the system and its instruments and generate learning experiences for its replication and implementation throughout the region.
In Costa Rica, only 7.8% of children under 2 years and 15% of those under 3 years have access to some type of early childhood development system. And for those that do have access, it is a well-known fact that both in the country and the entire region, the low availability of care services is a major stumbling block for the insertion and permanence of women in the labor market. Costa Rica’s private sector is interested in and has the ability to help out with this problem. Latin America’s private sector has characteristically supported early childhood development mostly by way of parental education or the production of children’s care content and methodologies. However, the information available and the private sector participation in co- responsibility programs with a focus on quality are still low.
This innovation is not just a simple public-private partnership. Its mission is to leverage the role of participating companies to implement and improve copayment processes, incorporating early childhood development quality criteria. These include: pre-selection of eligible families, identifying their care needs; promoting the linkage between care needs and offer availability; improving the tools used to orient companies in the design and implementation of shared payment strategies as well as in the improvement of ECD centers; and the creation of a business model that makes quality-care co-responsibility a central issue for the corporate sector. By focusing on service quality, the project supports children’s centers efforts to implement improvement plans. It will also focus on the advancement of an existing training and information platform on early childhood development and on the adoption of a system to monitor and follow up on centers’ improvements.
Evaluation and Impact
It expects to generate knowledge on the characteristics that childcare co-responsibility programs that include quality criteria should have, and to validate tools and mechanisms to scale up and replicate feasible models. These will be key inputs in the design of shared payment policies and for the creation of quality-improvement accompaniment models. Co-responsibility with accompaniment models will be evaluated to determine if they produce improvements in children’s care quality and in women’s working conditions when compared with similar center and beneficiaries not associated with the program. This initiative also includes a dissemination strategy to lend visibility to knowledge products aimed at improving early childhood development centers services, and to a business model that incentivizes companies to design and implement quality-oriented co-responsibility programs.