Child Care Services Association to begin statewide early childhood and school-age workforce registry with Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation grant

A teacher interacts with three young students at a table


Jennifer Gioia

Child Care Services Association to begin statewide early childhood and school-age workforce registry with Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation grant

CCSA will begin to plan and develop the registry, which will provide data for policymakers, advocacy groups and state agencies on North Carolina’s early childhood and school-age workforce.

Chapel Hill, N.C., January 14, 2021: Child Care Services Association (CCSA) is excited to begin planning and developing North Carolina’s Early Childhood and School-Age (EC/SA) workforce registry with the support of a grant from Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

“This grant will allow CCSA to begin working with the state of North Carolina to create a system-wide early childhood and school-age workforce registry to collect demographic, education and credential data from staff in every sector—center-based child care, family home child care, NC Pre-K, Head Start/Early Head Start and school-age programs,” said Natalie Blake, program officer at Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. “We are honored to be able to aid the start of this vital project.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of child care for N.C. and demonstrated the need for the state to be able to communicate with the EC/SA workforce during an emergency. It also created an opportunity for policymakers, advocacy groups and state agencies to work together to benefit the workforce, and ultimately children and families. EC/SA registries have been in place in most of the country for many years; N.C. is one of only nine states in the U.S. that do not have a registry of this kind.

“Workforce registries act as the Emergency Broadcast System for early learning professionals,” said Dr. Walter Gilliam, Yale University Child Study Center, to the National Workforce Registry Alliance. “When centers shut down during an emergency or crisis, registries are how we can locate and contact child care providers with vital information.”

“CCSA appreciates this foundational grant from Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and all their previous support for data collection on behalf of the early childhood workforce,” said CCSA President Marsha Basloe. “With this registry, North Carolina has a unique chance to make a significant, systemic change for early care and education and take a step forward to have data that allows us to best plan for the future.”

Data from the registry can be used to understand turnover in the early childhood workforce by county, look at demographic trends, show the shortage of infant-toddler teachers, understand wages by star-rating or sector and help inform critical policy questions. With this information, we can improve the quality and availability of care for N.C.’s youngest children while also demonstrating the stark need for discussion about equity for N.C.’s early childhood workforce.

“Productive, statewide, systemic conversations about equity in this workforce cannot begin until we have a better picture of who these educators are, where they work and the resources they need,” said Basloe. “The workforce is made up largely of low-paid women of color who held the system together before the pandemic, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated the challenges they face.”

The registry is addressed in the Leandro 2021 Action Plan as a way to promote a sound basic education for all N.C. children and youth (Section VI.G. page 12), which starts with investing in the early childhood workforce. In N.C., the median wage earned for child care educators in 2019 was approximately $12/hr., and 38 percent of staff reported needing at least one type of public assistance (e.g., TANF, Medicaid, etc.) in the past three years (CCSA 2019 North Carolina Child Care Workforce Study).

CCSA has a long history of data collection, research and advocacy on behalf of the EC/SA workforce. For more than 30 years, CCSA has partnered with the N.C. Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE), municipalities and other organizations to collect, analyze and interpret data that affect early learning. CCSA has conducted research and produced reports on system issues, subsidy and child care fees, careers, working conditions and more.

In addition, CCSA created and houses the systems, processes and workforce data related to the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship, Child Care WAGE$® and Infant Toddler Educator AWARD$® Plus programs. CCSA has honed its data tracking tools and has decades of experience helping providers gain education and increase compensation.

This grant will help CCSA to work with the Public Consulting Group, Inc. (PCG), a leading public sector solutions implementation and operations improvement firm, to plan for and develop the systems needed for the registry. CCSA will continue to reach out to other funders for additional funding to implement the numerous steps in the registry development process.

If your organization would like to help fund this vital project, please contact CCSA President Marsha Basloe at

Child Care Services Association
Founded in 1974, the mission of Child Care Services Association (CCSA) is to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality child care for all young children and their families. Using a holistic approach, CCSA supports children and families, helps child care professionals improve the quality of early education children receive and ensures all families can afford and access the high-quality early care and education that is so important for a child’s early development. CCSA also provides nutritious meals to children at child care centers through spoonFULL, where they may eat 50-100 percent of their meals. Our T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood®, Child Care WAGE$® and Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$ Plus® programs give child care professionals the means to obtain an education and supplement their salary based on that education. CCSA also licenses T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ across the U.S. and conducts early childhood systems research and policy development statewide and nationally. For more information, visit

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR) is committed to improving the quality of life for all North Carolinians. ZSR is a statewide, private, family foundation that has been a catalyst for positive change in North Carolina for more than 80 years. In June 2018, the Foundation announced All For NC: Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation’s Framework for Grantmaking and Learning. Headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC, the Foundation has invested $608 million into North Carolina. To learn more about ZSR and its All For NC Framework, visit