New Americans: Child Care Choices of Parents of English Language Learners (ICPSR 33901)

Published: Jul 3, 2012

Principal Investigator(s):
Helen Ward, University of Southern Maine; Erin Oldham LaChance, Oldham Innovative Research; Julie Atkins, University of Southern Maine

Version V1

New Americans

Immigration to this country has increased significantly in recent years. While Mexican immigrants are the largest population of immigrants in the United States (39 percent), the rest of the population is widely varied, with no one nation accounting for more than 3 percent of all immigrants. Despite the significant benefits quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs offer to immigrant children, their rates of enrollment are significantly lower than for comparable children of United States-born parents.

In order to better address the needs of these new American families, providers and state policymakers need more in-depth knowledge about the perceptions of these families and the factors that influence their choice of care. This study is an exploratory study in two cities which reflect the diversity of experience with immigration across the country: Denver, Colorado and surrounding areas, where the focus is on Mexican immigrants, and Portland, Maine and surrounding areas, where the focus is on three of the many refugee populations which have newly settled here. The contrasts, not only in the immigrant populations themselves, but also in the political and historical contexts of the communities in which they live, offer an opportunity to enrich the field of research on child care choices for this vulnerable population of children and families.

Additional details about this study can be found on the New Americans Web site.

Ward, Helen, Oldham LaChance, Erin, and Atkins, Julie. New Americans: Child Care Choices of Parents of English Language Learners. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2012-07-03.

Export Citation:

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (#90YE0096)


This data collection may not be used for any purpose other than statistical reporting and analysis. Use of these data to learn the identity of any person or establishment is prohibited. To protect respondent privacy, the New Americans Study data are restricted from general dissemination. Access to parts of this study requires a signed User Agreement. To obtain the file(s), researchers must agree to the terms and conditions of the Restricted Data Use Agreement, found via ICPSR's online Restricted Data Contracting System, by clicking the "apply online for access to the data" link above.

2009-05 -- 2010-02

2009-05 -- 2010-02

Due to low response rate, the Colorado Teacher Survey Data is not available (43 out of 233 = 18.4 percent). Only the survey tool is provided.

The New Americans project also involved conducting focus groups with refugee and immigrant parents of young children ages 0-6 as well as interviews with early care providers and K-2 teachers in Portland, Maine, and Denver, Colorado. However, these data are not publicly available. Two case studies which contain a summary of findings can be found on the New Americans Web site.

Due to the length of string responses for certain questions, all string variables and data were removed from the datasets but are available in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. The data are organized by respondent ID and question. Four spreadsheets which correspond to each dataset are provided.

The purpose of the Child Care provider survey was to learn from early care and education providers about the following issues:

  • experience serving immigrant/refugee families
  • challenges expected and experienced
  • accommodations made for families
  • communication with families
  • level of parent involvement
  • concerns about and opportunities to serve immigrant/refugee families
  • expanding child care choices for immigrant/refugee families

A brief survey was designed to assess training needs on immigrant and refugee issues in child care and beliefs about English language acquisition.

A K-2 Teacher survey was designed for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade teachers to obtain their perceptions about the impact of attendance in early care and education programs on the school readiness of children from these populations.The survey asked teachers about the following:

  • experience with teaching immigrant/refugee children
  • efficacy of ELL instruction currently provided
  • knowledge about the cultures of families
  • interactions with and accommodations for immigrant/refugee families
  • influence of preschool on school performance
  • expected and encountered challenges with teaching ELL students
  • knowledge of English language acquisition
  • related training received

This study attempts to understand refugee and immigrant families' beliefs about and experiences with child care, and how these factors impact their decision-making processes.

Child care provider surveys

The study was designed to be administered to early care and education providers. Because of concerns about length, the survey was divided into two sections, one longer survey (the Main Survey) and a brief survey asking questions specifically about training on immigrant and refugee issues in child care. The longer survey was sent by mail and email to a list of providers supplied by local child care resource and referral agencies. The brief survey was administered over a three-month period to all providers that attended regularly scheduled training sessions. The brief survey was only administered in Maine as permission could not be obtained to administer the survey at training sites in Colorado. Because the brief survey was handed out at training sessions, the responses are more representative of providers who are likely to seek out and attend training. Surveys were sent with a cover letter twice, with a month between the mailings. To increase the response rate in Colorado, the Colorado Division of Child Care agreed to have the cover letter printed on their letterhead and signed by the director of the division. As an incentive, a drawing for one of five $100 gift cards was offered.

K-2 teacher surveys

A survey was designed for kindergarten, first and second grade teachers. The survey was sent by mail to a list of teachers retrieved from elementary school websites. The survey was sent out twice with a month between mailings: one before the winter holidays and one after. As an incentive, a drawing for one of ten $50 gift cards, was offered.

This was a convenience sample drawn from contact information obtained through child care resource and referral agencies in specified counties in Maine and Colorado.

  • Maine Child Care Provider survey - All preschool teachers on a list compiled from child care resource and referral agencies for two counties in Maine.
  • Maine Brief Training Survey - Child care providers attending Resource and Referral county-wide training in Maine.
  • Colorado Child Care Provider survey - All preschool teachers on a list compiled from child care resource and referral agencies for five counties in Colorado.
  • Maine Teacher Survey - All kindergarten, first grade, and second grade teachers in four cities in Maine.


survey data

  • Colorado providers - 94 out of 312 = 30.1 percent
  • Maine providers - 95 out of 144 = 65.9 percent
  • Maine teachers - 137 out of 426 = 32.1 percent



2012-07-02 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.