Policy Clearinghouse

Child Care Workforce Compensation

Child care workforce compensation is theoretically aligned with these policy goals:


Child care workforce compensation is theoretically aligned with these policy goals:

Limited causal evidence suggests increasing child care workforce compensation may support nurturing and responsive child care in safe settings. However, evidence is mixed and research specific to caregivers serving children in the birth-to-age 3 period is needed. Research to date has only examined the impacts of wage supplement programs and these programs have not been studied at a statewide level; further evidence on other state compensation policies, such as compensation guidelines or relief through tax credits, is needed. Additionally, given that 90 percent of child care workers are women and more than a third are Black (with Black staff disproportionately working with infants and toddlers), more research on reducing workforce inequities is needed.

In the US, low wages in the child care field are common, particularly among teachers and caregivers serving infants and toddlers. To address low child care workforce compensation, states may include compensation guidelines or requirements in licensing or quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS), or provide financial relief to the child care workforce through tax credits, bonuses, or stipends. Higher child care workforce compensation may help recruit more highly skilled staff and reduce staff turnover, which can lead to higher classroom quality and better teacher-child interactions, resulting in improved child social-emotional and cognitive outcomes.

Download the Complete Evidence Review

Child Care Workforce Compensation Evidence Review (PDF)

Recommended Citation:
Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center. (2022). Prenatal-to-3 policy clearinghouse evidence review: Child Care Workforce Compensation (ER 14B.0122). Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University.

Updated January 2022

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