More than 22,930 infants, toddlers and preschoolers need childcare because their sole parent or both parents work.* However, only 7,512 are in high-quality care and education settings today.**
And high-quality childcare has a significant cost — an average of $902 per month for infants in Guilford County.***
How do we increase the quality of childcare while decreasing barriers — like affordability — for families?
Quality, affordability, and accessibility of childcare have systemic connections. They can’t be addressed individually without significant unintended consequences. That’s why we are bringing a systemic approach as we consider and address this complex problem. It also requires action at the local, state and national level.
The 100-Day Challenge team identified several pieces of the puzzle. The county-wide agenda includes:
Attracting, engaging and retaining the best talent in the field. (Nationally, 44% of early childhood professionals qualify for and use public assistance due to low wages, including teachers with college degrees and those who work full-time. Guilford County data reflects this trend.)
Working with early care and education directors and teachers to provide professional development, mentoring and a career ladder for early educators.
Exploring ways to expand childcare subsidies and other programs to give each infant, toddler and preschooler a high-quality early learning experience.
Aligning infant, toddler and preschool curriculum to the NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development.
Increasing the skills and knowledge of family members (and other informal care providers, like neighbors) who provide early care and education within the home setting.
Check back for updates on this important priority.
* Child Care Services Association
** Guilford County Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R)
*** North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education, 2015