NC’s licensed child care providers (including centers, family child care homes and religious-affiliated providers) are on the front lines educating and caring for our state’s most precious asset - its youngest children. Yet they face a workforce crisis (since long before the pandemic), a complex regulatory system, and a difficult financial climate - exacerbated by the Pandemic and rising inflation.
NCLCCA Policy Goals:
Criminal Background Checks: The safety and well-being of children is the top concern for our state’s licensed child care providers. North Carolina should align with the stringent Federal requirements of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program - but not exceed them. Many states throughout the U.S. already adhere to the federal requirements in order to keep children in licensed care safe. NC should mirror - not exceed federal policy.
Regulatory Flexibility: The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) is implementing a $200+ million, three-year plan to increase the ECE teacher pipeline by 20% (8,000 new teachers) by Dec. 31, 2024. Until that time, allow providers flexibility in “mixing” certain age-groups of children and flexibility in group size rules - without impacting the staff-child ratios. Doing so will allow programs to keep more classrooms open, prevent teacher/staff burnout and improve retention - and serve more children and families.
Expand the ECE Talent Pool: Identify and implement new policies that would expand the ECE talent pool – without undermining quality or safety – while preserving licensed child care providers Star Ratings. Examples include alternative pathways for obtaining the NC ECE Credential, granting more QRIS credit (education points) for experience, and determining additional options for demonstrating competency.
Update the Subsidy Market Rate: NC’s community-based providers who participate in the subsidized child care program have been getting reimbursed at 2015 rates for too long. We can both protect access for families who depend on subsidized child care - and expand access - by updating to 2018 Market Rates, narrowing rate disparities among counties by using the “statewide” average market rate, and decoupling tuition and reimbursements.