The purpose of the QUINCE study was to test two primary focuses, one concerning environmental quality as an outcome and one concerning children's outcomes across different levels of quality. The study aimed to discover whether child care providers (both teachers and FCC home providers) who received services from a consultant trained to implement the PFI consultation model would: (1) provide higher quality child care than those providers who did not receive services from a PFI-trained consultant, (2) provide higher quality care than they provided before receiving the services, and (3) continue to provide higher quality care six months after the PFI-trained consultant services ended.
The study also examined if children who were cared for by providers who received services from a PFI-trained consultant would have better outcomes than children who were cared for by child care providers who did not receive services from a PFI-trained consultant, and if outcomes for children in higher quality care, regardless of the type of intervention their provider received, would be higher than those in lower quality care. Three secondary focuses concerned possible moderators of the effectiveness of the intervention were also examined: provider education, experience, and level of professional motivation. The study looked at whether the providers' education could moderate the effects of the intervention, if experience could moderate the effects of the intervention such that new providers made greater gains or experienced providers understood more quickly how to integrate new knowledge into their teaching behavior, and if teachers and FCC providers with higher levels of professional motivation would gain more from the intervention.
Two secondary focuses concerned whether selected caregiver and treatment factors would mediate any association between treatment and quality: If the interventions received by teachers and FCC providers would influence their childrearing attitudes and contribute to the changes observed in the quality of their classrooms or FCC homes, and whether teachers and FCC providers who participated in a greater number of on-site consultant visits would make greater gains in child care quality than those who participated very little. Finally, the conditions under which the PFI model would work were analyzed: Would providers served by consultants who more closely adhere to the procedures of the PFI model show greater benefits of participation in the intervention, and would the PFI model be an effective for improving the quality of child care in both child care centers and family child care homes (regulated and unregulated); with providers from diverse cultural backgrounds; and in settings that serve a range of children with special needs, diverse language backgrounds, or from low-income families.
Recruitment of children into the study occurred in the school year just following providers' participation in the PFI or control intervention. Altogether, 101 consultants (46 PFI treatment and 55 control), 108 child care teachers (55 PFI, 53 control) and 263 family child care providers (127 PFI, 136 control) agreed to be in the study. A total of 710 children were involved (352 PFI, 358 control).