Child Care Services Association (CCSA) is proud to offer two education-based salary supplement programs in North Carolina. The Child Care WAGE$® Program issued its first checks in 1994 in one county and as of 2023, is available in 63 counties across the state with funding from local Smart Start partnerships that choose to participate and the Division of Child Development and Early Education. Funding partnerships determine compensation amounts and some of the program’s eligibility requirements, and supplements are issued to qualifying educators working with children birth to 5. Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® started in 2018 and expanded eligibility in July 2023, rebranding as Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® Plus. Funded solely by the Division of Child Development and Early Education, the supplements are available in all 100 counties to qualifying educators working with children birth through age 2 at least 30 hours per week.
Child care demand continues to rise, but the workforce hasn’t fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. The early childhood education (ECE) workforce faces higher operating costs, minimal staff and increasing attrition rates. This leaves parents with fewer options for child care – the question becomes less what will be most beneficial for the child, but instead which facility has the shortest waitlist.
In this annual report, you will see the remarkable work child care providers have done to give children the stability and certainty they need during a time when instability still controls every aspect of our lives. You will also see the efforts of our great CCSA staff to continue their work with children, families and child care programs as we see through this pandemic.
Dr. Kristi Snuggs has officially joined us as Child Care Services Association’s (CCSA) new President, leading our staff and driving the overall vision of CCSA. Prior to this role, Dr. Snuggs was the Deputy Director of the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE). In this role, she
In 2021, CCSA’s Board of Directors adopted a three-year strategic plan with a new mission and a first-ever vision and set of core values, all of which are found here. Focused both externally on the ECE workforce and building awareness and internally on our infrastructure and systems, its goals include:
“WAGE$ makes me want to keep going with my coursework. I love what I do, but there is not a lot of money in it. WAGE$ is an incentive to do it, to keep going because there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. My supplement increases with more classes. Who doesn’t like getting more money for more education when that coursework also helps change your life? You have education and you have money. It is a win-win. I don’t want to lose my supplement. It’s a big incentive.”