Now that you have reviewed the Child Care Programs in the United States fact sheet, use the following questions to reflect on the staff in your program and the families you serve.
- Although family makeup varies, most children participating in child care have a mother who works outside the home. How does your program support parents’ participation in work, continued education, and other activities outside the home? How do opportunities for work and education affect the well-being of families?Most families using child care need a safe and enriching place for their children to go while they are away. Some families may not have relatives or friends who can care for their children or they may prefer child care programming. Without stable child care, many parents (often mothers) will not be able to work or go to school. This affects a family’s income and may make it difficult to provide food, clothing, housing, and other essential items. Struggling with access to basic needs can increase stress for families and make it more difficult for them to attend to their children’s physical and emotional needs.
- Individuals working in the child care industry have a variety of educational backgrounds. As you review the breakdown based on center-based and home-based programs, does this information reflect the education levels of the staff in your program?Answers will vary depending on your program. If you don’t know the answer to this question, discuss this with your program administrator or research this information based on your state or region. A big picture view of the staff you support may be valuable when thinking about how you can support their well-being and provide opportunities for professional growth.
- How does the national earnings information compare to the pay of the staff in your program? In what ways might earnings affect the quality and consistency of the staff in your program?Answers will vary depending on your program. If you don’t know the answer to this question, discuss this with your program administrator or research this information based on your state or region. Low pay may affect staff turnover, making it difficult to hire and retain direct care staff. High turnover makes it difficult to help professionals grow their competence over time. Also, just like with families, if staff members feel stressed this will affect their well-being.
- As a coach, what can you realistically do to retain staff members who are invested in providing high-quality care and value growing their skills and knowledge over time?While I cannot change pay grades, making sure that all staff members feel valued and a part of my program’s community is an important first step in developing a relationship with them as their coach. When staff members feel as if they matter and the program is investing in them, they may be more likely to stay engaged in learning more about caring for and educating children and youth.