Arlington, VA -- Child Care Aware® of America (formerly NACCRRA) released a research paper today highlighting the leading role played by Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) in strengthening the quality of child care through trainings offered throughout the states.
“Child care is a fact of life for millions of American families,” said Ollie M. Smith, Child Care Aware® of America’s Interim Executive Director. “Training the workforce, those individuals who love to care for children, is the key to strengthening the quality of child care to ensure that children are both safe and in settings to promote their healthy development.”
Research shows that training and preparation for the child care workforce has a greater impact on the quality of care than any other single quality intervention. About 2.3 million individuals earn a living caring for children younger than age 5 in the United States.
In the fall of 2011, Child Care Aware® of America surveyed its member agencies about their services to parents, child care providers and communities. The results, presented in the white paper released today, Child Care Training and Technical Assistance: Improving the Quality of Child Care, show the broad array of trainings offered by CCR&Rs as well as onsite technical assistance (TA) that helps child care providers translate knowledge into practice.
There are more than 600 CCR&Rs throughout the country located in every state. CCR&Rs provide training and TA not only to child care providers, but also to Head Start programs, faith-based programs, school-age and preschool programs, license-exempt and unlicensed programs, and relative care providers. A broad range of topics are offered in both urban and rural settings, and in a variety of learning formats. Trainings support providers in obtaining certificates or credentials (offered by 70 percent of CCCR&Rs), continuing education units (CEUs, offered by half of CCR&Rs), or college credits (23 percent of CCR&Rs).
“The nation’s Child Care Resource and Referral agencies are really the backbone of child care training today,” said Smith. “These agencies combine to form a nationwide training infrastructure to boost the quality of care and to strengthen the skills and knowledge of child care providers. Every parent wants their child to be safe in child care. Parents also want their children to start school ready to learn, and to know that their child is in a setting that stimulates his or her growth and development.
“The path to quality child care is through training,” she continued. “Parents assume that states require training before granting a child care license or allowing staff to work in child care centers. State laws vary greatly, however,” said Smith. “CCR&Rs not only offer training to meet state requirements but also offer trainings exceeding state requirements. They are the experts looking to strengthen the quality of care in every state, in whatever way they can, community by community.”
CCR&Rs track the training and TA they offer and measure effectiveness through formal assessments. “CCR&Rs are at the forefront of accountable quality investments that improve the quality of care,” said Smith. “Quality care makes a difference. Parents know it, want it, and expect it. You can’t have quality child care without training for child care providers. Training is really the key.”
Child Care Aware® of America recommends that Congress reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) this year and that minimum training requirements be included in any bill. All paid child care providers (caring for unrelated children on a regular basis like a business) should have 40 hours of training in CPR/first aid, child development and behavior guidance, learning activities, recognizing child abuse and reporting requirements associated with child abuse, and basic health and safety practices before working with children.
“On average, states require 10-12 hours of training. No state would license a hairdresser or a manicurist with only 10 hours of training,” said Smith. “Those are important jobs. But they are not about caring for lives. It is time to ensure that the child care workforce has the training it needs to provide quality settings for our nation’s most vulnerable citizens – infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children under 5.”
Child Care Aware® of America (formerly NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies), is our nation's leading voice for child care. We work with more than 600 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about Child Care Aware® of America and how you can join us in ensuring access to quality child care for all families, visit us at www.naccrra.org.