Child care workers aren’t paid enough to make ends meet 


By Elise Gould

Child care workers play an important role in the U.S. economy by allowing parents of young children to pursue employment outside the home and providing children a stimulating and nurturing environment in which to learn and grow.

In recent decades families have increasingly had to rely on child care because spending more time at work has become an economic necessity for many. Over the last 35 years, most American workers have endured stagnant wages—a reality that has led many two-parent households to work significantly longer hours to cover their rising expenses (Mishel et al. 2012).

Despite the crucial nature of their work, child care workers’ job quality does not seem to be valued in today’s economy. They are among the country’s lowest-paid workers, and seldom receive job-based benefits such as health insurance and pensions. As with any other industry or occupation, paying decent wages and providing necessary benefits is essential to attract and retain the best workers.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

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Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages: The Early Childhood Workforce 25 Years after the National Child Care Staffing Study « CSCCE


The National Child Care Staffing Study (NCCSS) released in 1989, brought national attention for the first time to poverty-level wages and high turnover among early childhood teaching staff, and to the adverse consequences for children. In the succeeding 25 years, combined developments in science, practice, and policy have dramatically shifted the context for discussions about the status of early childhood teaching jobs, and the importance of attracting and retaining a well-prepared workforce that is capable of promoting young children’s learning, health and development.

Today, the explosion of knowledge about what is at stake when early childhood development goes awry has coincided with powerful economic arguments for investments in high-quality early care and education. New evidence about the ways in which stress and economic insecurity challenge teachers’ capacity to provide developmentally supportive care and education is lending scientific support to the claim that child well-being depends on adult well-being not only at home but in out-of-home settings. And, serious debate at the federal level, echoed in virtually every state, is underway about the vital importance of improving the quality of early education, and the most productive strategies for ensuring that young children’s critical early experiences will promote, not undermine, their lifelong learning and healthy development.

Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages compiles evidence from multiple sources to provide a portrait of the early childhood teaching workforce today in comparison to 25 years ago. The need to rely on a variety of data sources to obtain this portrait reveals the absence of a comprehensive, regularly updated database on the status and characteristics of the early childhood workforce. In addition to examining trends in center-based teachers’ education, wages and turnover, the report includes new evidence examining economic insecurity and use of public benefits among this predominantly female, ethnically diverse workforce. The report also appraises state and national efforts to improve early childhood teaching jobs, and offers recommendations aimed at reinvigorating a national conversation about the status and working conditions of the more than two million teaching staff who work in our nation’s early care and education settings.

Source: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment

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Early Essentials: A Six-Part Orientation Series 

Welcome to Early Essentials! The Early Head Start National Resource Center is pleased to present this six-webisode orientation series. These webisodes offer key messages and helpful resources to get staff started with services to the youngest children and their families. They include interviews with experts and strategies and tips from veteran staff. Quick Start Guides provide links to more information.

Webisode Topics and Air Dates

Explore upcoming topics and mark your calendars!

Early Essentials will air the first Wednesday of each month beginning Sept. 3, 2014.

  • Components of Quality: Sept. 3, 2014
  • Building Relationships: Oct. 1, 2014
  • Expectant Families: Nov. 5, 2014
  • The First Three Years: Dec. 3, 2014
  • School Readiness for Infants and Toddlers: Jan. 7, 2015
  • Self-Care and Professionalism: Feb. 4, 2015

Watch this short video to learn more about Early Essentials:  

Stay Connected with #EarlyEssentials

During and after the webisodes, we encourage you to share your thoughts and comments on Twitter! Use #EarlyEssentials to participate in the chat.

Who Should Watch?

Use these materials on your own or in orientations and trainings with staff. They are great for new staff and those looking for a refresher. This series will benefit an array of audience members, including: direct service staff who are new to work with expectant families and infants, toddlers, and their families; staff who want a refresher on important messages in their work; and managers designing orientations or staff trainings.


You may send your questions to or call toll-free 1-877-434-7672. Sign up to receive information and resources about Early Head Start.

Source: Early Head Start National Resource Center and the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

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Building Health Literate Organizations: A Guidebook to Achieving Organizational Change

A health literate health care organization is described as easier for people to use, and critical to delivering patient-centered care Ten Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Organizations. It supports patient-provider communication to improve health care quality, reduce errors, facilitate shared decision-making, and improve health outcomes.

This guidebook will help health care organizations of any size engage in organizational change to become health literate. It complements many excellent health literacy resources, helping you use them effectively and reliably. It includes background, resources, examples, and lessons learned to help build a health literate health care organization.

How to Use the Guidebook

The guidebook contains chapters and a case study on key health literacy development areas that intersect with the attributes of health literate health care organizations:

  • Engaging leadership
  • Preparing the workforce
  • The care environment
  • Involving populations served
  • Verbal communication
  • Reader-friendly materials

Each chapter answers these questions:

  • Why? Why do you need to address health literacy issues in this area? Why is it important?
  • What? What would success in this area look like? What are the target outcomes? Success may include changes to process, behavior, and attitudes, as well as health outcomes.
  • How? What tools, resources, and actions will you use to reach the target outcomes?

Start with any chapter. This is not a step-by-step process and there is not one correct starting point. Each chapter relates to the others, but each can stand alone. Each is necessary, but not sufficient, to bring about improvement. Start where you can begin to build a pattern of success. Build to work in more than one area at a time, eventually working in all key areas for results you can sustain.

Source: UnityPoint Health

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The Health and Well-Being of Early Childhood Educators: A Need for Compassion and Commitment


In a recent report, early childhood educators working in Pennsylvania Head Start programs reported chronic illnesses, such as obesity and headache, in significantly higher proportions than nationally representative cohorts of women of similar age and socioeconomic status. Notably, in this anonymous online survey, 24 percent of the over 2,000 Head Start staff surveyed reported clinically significant levels of depression.

Early childhood educators must be well to do well in their jobs. Current public and political attention to early childhood education and universal pre-K indicates a growing interest in ensuring that children have strong early childhood education that prepares them for future success. And research emphasizes that children need consistent, sensitive, caring, and stable relationships with adults in order to thrive. Adults who are well, physically and mentally, are likely to have an easier time engaging in such relationships than adults who are struggling with chronic illness, such as depression. Thus, it is critical that we pay attention to, invest in, and be compassionate about the well-being of the adults who provide early care and education.

Source: Child Trends

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