Performance Improvement 2005. Two Years in Early CARE and Education: a Community Portrait of Quality and Workforce Stability: Alameda County, California


This study examined the characteristics of early care and education services in Alameda County, CA. All three sectors of the industry were included: licensed center-based care, licensed family child care homes, and license-exempt home based care. Data collection took place during a two–year period. Just as the study was launched, the county made substantial investments in professional development and retention for the early care and education workforce. A growing awareness of children’s experiences during preschool years as a critical foundation for lifelong learning provided a backdrop for the study. Study measures provided program-level and individual-level data. Major findings included the following: (1) The early care and education workforce in Alameda County was composed predominantly of women of color with varied education and training experiences--the majority of center staff had some college education as well as specialized training in early childhood, whereas licensed family child care providers had a wider variety of education and training. (2) Care settings in the county were stratified along racial and ethnic, and to a lesser extent, economic lines. (3) In this sample, the quality of center-based care was generally high, regardless of neighborhood income level or family access to subsidy, whereas the quality of licensed family child care varied more widely, with arrangements in middle-income neighborhoods offering significantly higher quality of care. (4) Regardless of setting, college-level, child-related training and commitment to professional development were associated with providing higher quality of care to children. (5) In center-based care, the overall educational background of the total staff influenced quality and teaching staff stability. (6) In this community, relatively rich in resources for professional development, turnover of center-based staff and licensed family child care providers was lower than found in previous studies; and, (7) license-exempt child care was highly variable, showed a high degree of provider instability, and lacked oversight required in regulated forms of care.

PIC ID: 8146; Agency Sponsor: ACF-ACYF, Administration on Children, Youth and Families; Federal Contact: Martinez-Beck, Ivelisse, 202-690-7885; Performer: University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

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