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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The CARES Initiative in California: Pursuing Public Policy To Build a Skilled and Stable Child Care Workforce, 1997-2000


This report details California CARES (Compensation and Retention Encourage Stability), an initiative aimed at building a skilled and stable workforce to provide high-quality child care and development services throughout California. The report is presented in three parts. Part 1 describes the statewide effort to provide professional development rewards for existing and future education and training. This section describes the origins of the initiative in new federal funding sources to states, child care advocacy efforts, statewide demand for K-3 teachers, and the existence of an extensive early childhood training network. Legislative efforts are also described. Part 2 of the document presents information on how California counties have developed CARE-style plans of their own. Discussion focuses on Proposition 10, the San Francisco CARE program, the Alameda County Child Development Corps, and the movement from advocacy to implementation. The following program features are described: (1) stipends and educational requirements; (2) priorities for stipends; (3) timelines; (4) outreach; and (5) program administration. Challenges of implementing CARES at the county level are discussed, including limited planning and implementation time, limited funding, and transcripts and other verifying documents. Part 3 of the document reflects on the CARES experiment, noting that efforts such as CARES are a first step in the longer struggle for systematic change to reward members of the child care workforce. Appended are application materials for San Francisco and Alameda County. (KB)

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