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What Will It Take to Build a Competent, Stable Child Care Workforce?

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Meeting the nation’s child care needs requires a competent and stable workforce. Conversations on how to support this workforce often center on increasing compensation for teachers. While compensation is certainly one aspect of recruiting and retaining a workforce, it is not a silver bullet.

Many of the challenges for the child care workforce stem from ambiguity in what it means to be a part of the profession. Panelists will discuss state-led policies that pave the way for successful compensation interventions.

In a new report, BPC describes 10 steps that can lead to a more competent and stable child care workforce, noting:

• State agencies should write or adopt definitions for the child care workforce, including directors, teachers, and support staff; write or adopt competencies for all defined roles; and collect and connect all relevant data from child care subsidies, program licensing, the QRIS rating system, workforce registries, professional development, higher education, and other relevant programs.

• State agencies should determine the competency-based education and training required of each role and what resources individuals need to advance along a career path. They also should effectively communicate requirements and use a monitoring system to ensure that their workforce meets them.

• State agencies should determine the operating costs for a child care center with a competent and stable workforce; determine the cost of education and training, compensation scales, and workplace benefits, including health insurance and paid leave; and conduct a system-level cost model to determine the total cost of a child care system that addresses gaps and meets short- and long-term goals.

• State agencies should consider how to allocate available public funding to best meet their goals; and they should decide how, and at what level, they will fund child care workforce wages and benefits as part of our federal and state public investments.


Lauren Birchfield Kennedy | Co-President, Neighborhood Villages

Marcia Cox Mitchell | Vice President, Early Childhood, Bainum Family Foundation

Walter S. Gilliam, PhD| | Executive Director, Buffett Early Childhood Institute, University of Nebraska

Calvin E. Moore, Jr., PhD | Chief Executive Officer, Council for Professional Recognition

Caroline Osborn | Project Associate, Early Childhood Initiative, BPC (Presenter)

Linda K. Smith | Director, Early Childhood Initiative, BPC (Moderator)


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