State Initiative

State Strategies to Strengthen Infant-Toddler Care, while Expanding Pre-k – North Carolina

Apr 6, 2022

Anticipating potential growth of state pre-k programs, state policymakers should consider a number of approaches to protect and expand the existing infant-toddler child care infrastructure. Beyond limiting harm to infant-toddler programs, state leaders could take the opportunity to invest in a birth-5 system that equitably supports high quality services for infants and toddlers and preschool-age children.

Several states draw on CCDF quality set-asides to support stipends or supplements to the child care educator salaries in an effort to address persistent concerns about low pay and encourage retention of highly qualified staff. States can target these resources to support underpaid infant-toddler educators. For example, North Carolina’s Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® initiative provides education-based salary supplements to low-paid teachers working full-time in infant-toddler classrooms who hold at least an associate degree or higher. The Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® program recognizes the acute need for investment in wages for qualified infant-toddler teachers who are paid the least of all early childhood teachers in North Carolina.

To read more about state strategies to strengthen infant-toddler care, while expanding pre-K read here.

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