Priority 1: Address the teacher shortage crisis in the licensed child care workforce in order to best serve all the families seeking quality care for their children.
Priority 2: Secure additional pandemic relief funding to keep licensed child care programs open and caring for young children so families can return to work and help relaunch North Carolina’s economy.
Address the child care workforce crisis
The greatest challenge licensed child care providers face is finding, hiring and retaining teachers as well as staff members. Throughout our state, families and children are on waiting lists because licensed child care centers cannot find enough qualified teachers and staff.
NCLCCA proposes that legislators and/or other policy makers:
- Without compromising on safety, reduce criminal background check (CBC) delays that exacerbate the teacher shortage by simply aligning North Carolina’s requirements with federal requirements, specifically, requiring fingerprinting every five years versus three years and allowing provisional employment – away from children during orientation and training – while waiting on a final qualifying letter from DCDEE.
- In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, provide temporary regulatory flexibility to help licensed programs hire teachers and staff centers to meet community needs without compromising their Star ratings.
- Increase Subsidized Child Care Assistance Program reimbursement rates in all counties so that rates better align with the costs of higher education requirements for teachers/staff for 3-, 4- and 5-Star licensed programs.
- Increase NC Pre-K reimbursement rates so they cover the costs of higher teacher education requirements for NC Pre-K teachers – a 4-year degree and B-K License.
- Commission a third-party child care workforce study to evaluate the severity and impact of the current child care workforce crisis to both shape future policies and prevent harmful, unworkable policies without the workforce to support them.
Stabilize & sustain high-quality child care programs during COVID-19
Through federal and state COVID-19 relief funding, provide funding for:
- Operational grants to help licensed centers cover increased operating costs until enrollment/attendance (and corresponding revenue) return to pre-pandemic levels.
- The creation of a “Child Care COVID-19 Outbreak Mitigation Fund” to reimburse required cleaning/sanitation costs and lost revenue for licensed programs that are mandated by public health officials to close classrooms or facilities due to outbreaks.
- Short-term COVID-19 emergency child care grants/scholarships for families experiencing new or extended job losses who do not already qualify for Subsidized Child Care.