Illinois Salary & Staffing Survey of Licensed Child Care Facilities: FY2007

Prepared by: Philip C Garnier, Ph.D., Department of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the Illinois Department of Human Services.  Submitted May 2008

Executive Summary

In an effort to gain an understanding of the child care workforce in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Human Services is required by legislative rule (20 ILCS 505/5.15) to conduct a survey of licensed child care facilities every two years. The survey is intended to assess the average wages and salaries, and fringe benefit packages paid to practitioners throughout the state; the qualifications of new practitioners hired at licensed child care facilities during the previous two years; the number of qualified practitioners attracted to vacant positions; and problems encountered by facilities in attracting and retaining capable practitioners. The summary of findings provided here profiles the qualifications, salary and benefits, and turnover rates from a sample of the 13,467 licensed child care programs operating in Illinois on March 31, 2007.

In May 2007, all licensed full- and part-time child care centers and family child care homes listed with the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) were invited to complete a survey, either online, or if they requested, via a paper-and-pencil questionnaire. A total of 496 child care centers returned completed surveys (a 15.9 % response rate), and 1,390 family child care home providers returned surveys (a 13.4 % response rate).

Child Care Centers - Highlights and Key Findings

Capacity and Staffing

  • The average licensed capacity of centers was reported as 94 children.
  • The 406 responding directors reported a total of 6479 employees in their programs, including:
    • 821 directors and director/teachers
    • 4682 classroom teaching staff,
    • 337 food service staff,
    • 250 building support staff, and
    • 173 administrative support staff.

Accreditation

  • Out of 275 centers,
    • 38 (13.8%) were accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC);
    • 4 (1.5%) were accredited by the National Afterschool Association (NAA);
    • 3 (1%) were accredited by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA) and
    • 0 (0%) were accredited by the National Association of Child Care Professionals (NACCP)

Education Level of Staff

  • Out of 1,287 Early Childhood Teachers,
    • 92.7% were reported to have some form of college education.
    • 72.2% had completed a college degree (Associates or higher),
    • 42.2% had completed their degrees in early childhood education or child development, and
    • 6.1% had completed a Child Development Associate (CDA) or Child Care Professional (CCP) credential.
  • 24.6% of Early Childhood Teachers with a bachelor's degree or higher were reported to have 04/02 public school teaching certificates.

Salary

  • The median hourly wage for a full-time Administrative Director in a full-year program was $18.00 per hour, which is approximately equal to $37,440 per year. (assuming 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year)
  • The median hourly wage for a full-time Early Childhood Teacher in a full-year program was $12.00 per hour, which is approximately equal to $24,960 per year. (assuming 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year)
  • The median hourly wage for a full-time Early Childhood Assistant Teacher in a full-year program was $9.00 per hour, which is approximately equal to $18,720 per year. (assuming 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year)

Benefits

  • Most centers did not provide insurance (either fully or partially paid) to most of their staff:
    • 36.1% of centers provided health insurance for their staff.
    • 23.8% of centers provided dental insurance.
    • 28.7% of centers provided life insurance.
    • 35.5% of centers provided retirement/pension coverage for their employees.
  • Most centers did provide time off benefits:
    • 73.1% of centers provided paid vacation leave.
    • 80.2% of centers provided paid holiday leave for staff.
    • 75.5% of centers provided paid sick leave for employees.

Turnover

  • The turnover rate for Early Childhood Teachers over the last two years was 28%.
  • The turnover rate for Early Childhood Assistant Teachers over the last two years was 41%.
  • Early Childhood Teachers were reported as having, on average, 9.9 years experience in child care and had been employed in their current position for 6.5 years.
  • 50% of Early Childhood Teachers had been employed in their current position for less than 4.0 years.
  • Dissatisfaction with pay was reported as a reason for early childhood teachers to leave their jobs; however, it was similar in importance to some other reasons given. Dissatisfaction with professional development opportunities was the least important reason reported for leaving.
  • One-half of Directors reported that it took more than three weeks to fill an Early Childhood Teacher vacancy. Twenty five percent said that it took more than 4 weeks.

Family Child Care Home Providers - Highlights and Key Findings

Capacity and Enrollment

  • The average license capacity for family child care providers was reported as 9.5 children, with providers reporting that they care for an average of 7.2 children per week typically.

Education Level

  • 55.3% had some form of college education.
  • 47.0% had an Associate's degree or higher.
  • 18.8% had an Associate's degree or higher in either early childhood education or child development.
  • 2.2% reported that they had a public school early childhood teaching certificate.

Salary and Benefits

  • Licensed family child care providers reported an average annual net income of $14,502.66 per year
    • 25% of family child care providers make less than $6,000.
    • 50% of family child care providers make less than $12,000.
    • 75% of family child care providers make less than $20,000.
  • While just over half (54.9%) of family child care providers are paid for closed holidays, 80.4% are not paid for closed vacation days, 86.3% are not paid for closed sick days, and 86.3% are not paid to attend training.
  • 74.9% of family child care providers were covered by some form of health insurance. 64.8% of those were covered by their spouse's employer, 18.3% purchased their own health insurance, and 14.6% were Medicaid/Medicare eligible.
  • Over one-half (56.4%) of family child care providers contributed to Social Security and slightly over one-fourth (25.2%) set aside money for retirement.
  • More than one in five (22.8%) of providers had received some form of public assistance in the preceding two years.

Years of Experience/Turnover

  • Family child care home providers reported an average of 10.4 years of experience taking care of children in their homes. 50% had 8 years or more experience.
  • Over one fourth (26.5%) of licensed family child care providers reported that they had been previously employed in a child care center or public school.
  • Almost half (47.0 %) of family child care providers considered quitting providing care in the preceding year. Of those, 62.1% endorsed "dissatisfaction with salary" as the primary reason.
  • 50% of family child care providers plan to quit providing care within 6 years.

Working Hours

  • On average, family child care providers were paid to care for children 49.1 hours per week.
  • On average, family child providers spent an additional 15.7 hours per week on aspects related to their child care business (preparing food, shopping, cleaning, record keeping and schedule planning).

Motivation for Providing Care

  • 80.7% of the total sample of family child care providers endorsed the item, "Enjoy teaching children" as a "major reason" for providing child care in their homes.
  • At the same time, 81.7% of the total sample endorsed the item, "Earn a living" as a "major reason" for providing child care in their homes.

Introduction

Legislative rule 20 ILCS 505/5.15 requires the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to conduct a survey of child care facilities every two years. In order to better understand the child care workforce in Illinois, the survey is to assess:

  • The average wages and salaries and fringe benefit packages paid to practitioners throughout the state, computed on a regional basis;
  • The number of qualified practitioners, as defined by rule, attracted to vacant positions; and
  • The qualifications of new practitioners hired at licensed child care facilities during the previous two years.

IDHS contracted with researchers from the Department of Human and Community Development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to conduct the Fiscal Year 2007 survey.

Methods

Survey Development

Two forms of the Salary and Staffing Survey were constructed: one for Child Care Centers and one for Family Child Care Home Providers. For both forms, in order to compare results with those of previous years, questionnaire items used in the Fiscal Year 2001, 2003, and 2005 administrations were retained, with some minor formatting and wording changes. (In particular, wording for the questions regarding 04/02 teacher certification was changed.)

For the administration of the 2007 Salary and Staffing Survey, each form of the survey was made available to respondents in two "modalities": online, available over the internet, and as a mailed paper-and-pencil document. Both modalities contained essentially the same content, with formatting and instructions tailored to the specific mode of administration.

A Spanish version of the Family Child Care Home provider paper questionnaire was also created and sent to 3 providers who specifically requested a Spanish translation. (Thank you to Joann Meritrello, intern from the Spanish in Illinois program, for her help in translating the Family Child Care Survey.)

Using the web-based survey software "NSurvey" (www.nsurvey.org), staff from the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) transcribed the online versions of both forms directly from the paper forms. (Thank you to INCCRRA staff who helped with the transcription and administration of the online versions of the Salary and Staffing Survey.)  Respondents accessed the online surveys via a Salary Survey web page on INCCRRA's website. The Salary Survey web page offered respondents links to their choice of the Licensed Family Child Care survey or the Licensed Child Care Center survey as well as links to a summary of the FY05 results and technical assistance contact information.

All respondents were assigned a randomly-generated 8-digit "token code," subject identification and login code that allowed them to both access the survey and to maintain confidentiality.

Both forms of the online survey were programmed to allow respondents to answer questions at their own pace, save their responses, and return to their saved survey at a later session by entering the assigned code. However, the program did not allow respondents to go back and change submitted responses, either within a session or during a later session.

A copy of both the Child Care Center and Family Child Care surveys is included in Appendix A.

Respondents

In Illinois, the Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) licenses child care facilities. These facilities are listed in the local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agency provider database maintained by INCCRRA. CCR&R agencies provide services in designated areas called Service Delivery Areas (SDA). See Appendix B for a map. Respondents for this survey were selected from the 13,737 child care facilities licensed by IDCFS and listed on the local CCR&R agency provider database as of March 31, 2007. Of these licensed providers, 270 providers (19 licensed child care centers and 251 licensed family child care home providers) were excluded because they were listed as not providing care at the time.  (Those providers dropped from the sampling frame included those who were "Keeping license, but not providing care" or "Pending - surrendered license(s).") Survey invitations were sent to, all 13,467 facilities, 3,124 licensed child care centers and 10,343 licensed family child care home providers, who were listed in the INCCRRA database as providing care as of March 31, 2007.

Administration of Surveys

(Copies of all survey materials are included in Appendix A.)

On May 1, 2007, survey invitation emails were sent to the 5,582 providers for whom email addresses were available in the INCCRRA database. On May 8th, a letter was sent to each center (to the center director) and family child care provider explaining the purpose of the survey and inviting them to participate, either online or via a mailed paper-and-pencil questionnaire. Self-addressed postcards were included with the letter to be returned if the provider wished to be mailed a paper-and-pencil form of the survey. In the event that the postcard was returned, a survey was mailed to the provider with a self-addressed return envelope.

On August 3rd, postcards were sent to all 13,467 providers thanking them if they had completed the survey, informing/reminding them of the survey's availability online, and providing an email address and phone numbers if they preferred to complete the pencil-and-paper form of the survey.

All completed surveys returned by September 21, 2007 were included in analyses.

Profile of Child Care Centers: Key Findings

The term child care center can apply to many types of programs. In addition to full-day, full-year center-based child care programs, the term child care center can also refer to preschools, nursery schools, Head Start programs, before-and after-school programs, and state-funded Preschool For All programs. Each of these programs has a different legal designation (for-profit vs. not-for-profit) and a different regulatory status (licensed vs. license-exempt). These programs also have public funding sources (IDHS, Head Start, Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and private funding sources (parent fees, corporate sponsors, United Way, faith-based sponsor). Center programs may be housed in one facility or some operate multiple sites. Some are affiliated with employers, and some are affiliated with colleges and universities. And, the qualifications and professional development requirements of the staff in these programs vary depending on all of the above factors. This complexity of programs and terms presents a host of challenges to our research.

Because response rates varied from county to county and because of the demographic diversity across counties in Illinois, responses of child care centers were weighted relative to their representation in each county. For example, the 1,289 licensed child care centers in Cook County represent 41.3 percent of all licensed child care centers in the state. However, responses from Cook County child care centers comprised only 28.7 percent of child care center respondents in the present sample. Therefore, the responses from each Cook County child care respondent were weighted by 1.4 (41.3/28.7) to reflect representation within the population of all licensed child care centers in Illinois. All statistical tests were conducted and results reported with weighted samples.

Note that not all respondents who returned a survey answered every question, so there is some variation in the number of responses reported for each question. The notation ('N" or "N=") indicates the (raw) number of responses to a particular survey item. However, note that all statistics (mean, median, etc.) and percentages reported were calculated with weighted samples.

A FEW DEFINITIONS OF STATISTICAL TERMS

MEAN - the average, the result of adding all values in a data set and dividing by the number of values. Means are sensitive to each score in a data set, but can be easily affected by extreme values. In the data set below the mean is calculated as: (1+2+2+2+3+3+4+5+6+6+7+8+99)/13= 11.23. If the extreme score, "99," was to change to say "9, "the mean would change dramatically, to 4.31

MEDIAN - the number that falls in the center of a list of data when scores are ordered by value. The median is not affected by the relative size of extreme scores. The median in the data set below is 4. Changing the "99" to "9" has no effect on the median.

MODE - the number that occurs most frequently in a group of scores. The mode in the data set below is 2.

RANGE - the range is the difference between the highest and lowest score. In the sample dataset the range is 99-1 or 98.

Sample Dataset: 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 99

Completed Surveys

From the 3,124 invitations sent to child care centers, 464 centers participated in the web survey. Sixty-six centers requested a paper-and-pencil survey be mailed to them. Of these, 32 center surveys were returned completed. In total, 496 center surveys were completed out of 3,124 delivered invitations, for a response rate of 15.9 %.

Table 1. Survey Return Rates by Service Delivery Area: Child Care Centers
(One respondent did not provide information to identify his/her location.)

Service
Delivery
Area
CCR&R Main
Office Location
Number of
Centers
Number of
Surveys
Completed
Percentage
of Surveys
Completed
SDA 1 Rockford 62 22 35.48
SDA 2 DeKalb 155 40 25.81
SDA 3 Waukegan 163 12 7.36
SDA 4 Glen Ellyn 322 48 14.91
SDA 5 Joliet 165 26 15.76
SDA 6 Chicago 1289 142 11.02
SDA 7 Davenport 84 20 23.81
SDA 8 Peoria 164 28 17.07
SDA 9 Bloomington 82 17 20.73
SDA 10 Urbana 110 29 26.36
SDA 11 Charleston 40 7 17.50
SDA 12 Quincy 27 7 25.93
SDA 13 Springfield 106 21 19.81
SDA 14 Granite City 206 49 23.79
SDA 15 Mt Vernon 69 12 17.39
SDA 16 Carterville 80 15 18.75
Totals 3124 4951 15.85

Type of Child Care Center by Schedule

Returned surveys were completed either by an owner (50; 10.1%), an owner/director (86; 18.0%), a director (253; 51.0%), a director/teacher (66; 13.8%) of the child care center, or by someone indicating an "Other" title (39; 6.9%). Two (.3%) of those completing the surveys for licensed child care centers did not report a title. (Note again that numbers are actual raw responses, percentages are based upon a weighted sample). Child care center directors were asked to report basic information about their programs. (For the remainder of the report, we will use "director" as a generic term for referring to child care center survey respondents).

Directors were asked to describe their center type based on hours and days of operation. Out of the 496 surveys returned,

  • 50.0% of centers (250) identified themselves as full-day/full-year only programs,
  • 21.2% (108) identified themselves as full-day/full-year programs with a separate part-day operation (e.g., a full-time center that has a separate preschool classroom),
  • 22.8% (105) identified themselves as part-day only preschool-age programs,
  • .4% (2) identified themselves as part-day only school-age programs,
  • .2% (1) identified themself as some "Other" type of program, and
  • 5.9% (30) did not identify their type of center.

For the remainder of this report, unless otherwise noted, full-day programs are combined with part-day programs for all analyses.

Type of Center Program Revenue

Fifty-nine percent (59%)(n = 294) of center directors reported that their programs were not-for-profit, 35.6% (n = 174) reported that their programs were for profit, and 5.5% (n = 28) did not respond to this survey item.

Center directors were asked to report all types of revenue sources for their child care center programs. Table 2 presents the percentage of centers who report receiving revenues from a given source. As Table 2 shows, the majority of centers (over 85%) reported receiving funds from tuition and/or parent fees. The next most prevalent source of funding was from IDHS vouchers or certificates (54%).

Table 2. Type of Center Program Revenues (N = 496)

This table should be read as follows: "Eighty-five percent of licensed child care centers received revenues from tuition or parent fees."

Type of Program Revenue Percentage
Percentages add up
to greater than 100% as
respondents were asked
to endorse all items
applicable to their programs.
Percentages based upon weighted sample.
n
Tuition-Based (Parent Fees) 85.1% 421
Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) vouchers/certificates or site contract 64.6% 339
Chicago Dept. of Children and Youth Services (CYS) site contract 3.2% 11
Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) vouchers or certificates 38.1% 204
Head Start 8.5% 42
State Board of Education Preschool For All programs (ISBE) 14.4% 71
Federally Funded Food Program 28.1% 148
Private Donations 25.7% 136
Corporate/employer subsidies 7.5% 35
Other (fundraisers, church sponsorship, grants,…) 8.7% 39

Table 2 presents how many centers receive funds of a given type and/or from a given source. In a separate question, directors also indicated how much each revenue source contributed to the overall center budget. Not only do most centers (over 85%) receive funds from tuition, but tuition and parent fees make up the largest single share of operating income. Center directors reported that an average of 63.9 percent (n = 397 of 496 respondents completing this item; median = 75%, with a range from 0% to 100%) of center revenue came from parent fees.

Directors reported that 42.8 percent (n = 280; median = 35%; range = 0 to 100%) of revenue came from Head Start funds. They reported that 8.0 percent (n = 168; median = 5.0%; range = 0 to 80%) of revenue came from Preschool for All funds. They indicated that 11.1 percent (n = 93; median = 0.0%; range = 0 to 99%) of revenue came from other public (state, federal, or local) funding sources. Responding directors reported that 7.8 percent (n = 88; median = 2.0%; range = 0 to 80%) of revenue came from private donations or gifts. They said that .51 percent (n = 3 median = 0.0%; range = 0 to 3%) of revenue came from corporate/employer subsidies. A negligible percent of revenues (0.0 percent; n = 2. median = 0.0%; range = 0 to 0%) was reported to have come from "other" sources.

Overall, the annual operating budgets reported by directors varied greatly. The average operating expenses were $430,791 (n = 257 respondents completing this item), with a median of $313,847 and a range from $1,962 to $5,748,872. Directors reported average annual revenues of $473,921 (n = 262 respondents completing this item) with a median of $333,450 and a range from $14,687 to $6,717,056. Figures reported at the low end of these ranges typically reflected part-year small programs located in rural areas of the state. Calculating net profit as revenues minus costs revealed again a large range. The average profit per center was $26,267 (n=251 respondents) with a median of $0.00 and a range of -$282, 875 to $968,184.

Accreditation

In this administration of the Salary and Staffing Survey, directors were not asked to report on their accreditation status. Rather, we relied on data reported by the accrediting bodies themselves. According to the websites of each accrediting body, as of December 21, 2007, 488 of 3,124 (15.6%) licensed child care centers were accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), 9 of 3,124 (.3%) were accredited by the National Afterschool Association (NAA); 11 of 3,124 (.4%) licensed child care centers were accredited by the National Association of Child Care Professionals (NACCP); and 11 of 3,124 (.4%) were accredited by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA).

Of 275 centers responding to this survey, 45 could be identified as accredited, 38 (13.8%) were accredited with NAEYC, 4 (1.5%) with NAA, 0 with NAACP, and 3 (1.1%) with NECPA.

Capacity and Enrollment Patterns

Respondents were asked to report the licensed capacity of their programs. Responding centers (n=421) reported an average licensed capacity of 94 children, with a median licensed capacity of 76 .

Respondents were asked to report the current total enrollment of their programs. Responding centers (n=414) reported an average current total enrollment of 86 children, with a median current total enrollment of 70.

Respondents were asked to report the current enrollment in their programs of children whose families receive Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), Chicago Department of Children and Youth Services (CYS), and/or Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) financial assistance (subsidy). Responding centers (n=389) reported an average of 24 children enrolled who receive such assistance, with a median enrollment of 11 and a range from 0 children to 185 children.

Dividing the number of subsidized children by current total enrollment (n = 376 valid results) for each center revealed that on average, 33.7 percent of children in licensed child care centers were receiving some sort of the above types of public financial assistance for care (median=21.8 percent, with a range of from 0 to 100 percent).

Respondents were asked to describe their enrollment patterns by rating on a scale from "1" ('There are always vacancies") to "5" ('There are never vacancies") how frequently they had vacancies in their programs. Responding centers (n=425) reported an average rating of 3.0, with a median of 3.0. Table 3 displays enrollment patterns.

Table 3. Enrollment Patterns (N=425)

Enrollment Pattern Percentage
1 (Always Have Vacancies) 17.0%
2 16.7%
3 27.7%
4 29.2%
5 (Never Have Vacancies) 9.6%

Staffing Patterns

Directors were asked to report the number of staff they employed, including full- and part-time teachers, administrative staff, and support staff. Because we recognize that many centers use a variety of titles for employees in their programs, we used the six center staff positions defined in the IDCFS licensing standards (see Appendix C) to maximize comparability across centers. The remaining staff categories included in the survey were based on frequently cited other positions reported in past surveys. Table 4 presents the staffing patterns of responding centers along with the number of centers reporting each staffing category.

Table 4. Breakdown of Center Staff by Position

Position Number of Employees
(raw totals)
Number of Centers
(Number of respondents to the survey item - raw frequencies. Note: Some respondents indicated "0" staff.
Average # of Employees
(Of centers reporting (weighted means).
DCFS-Defined Positions
Administrative Director 371 322 1.1
Director/Teacher (A Director/Teacher must meet the qualifications of both the director's position and the teaching position.) 450 315 1.3
Early Childhood Teacher 2532 368 7.1
Early Childhood Assistant 1755 358 4.8
School-Age Worker 273 221 1.2
School-Age Assistant 122 172 .6
Other Positions Reported
Curriculum Coordinator 59 165 .4
Family Support/Parent Educator 79 151 .5
Cook 258 262 .9
Administrative Support/Secretary 173 200 .9
Building Support Staff 250 220 1.2
Other 157 110 1.3
Total 6479

Of the 496 respondents, 406 center directors reported on the number of their staff. The 406 reported a (raw) total of 6,479 employees in their programs. Eighty-five percent of these employees fell into one of the categories of personnel as they are defined in the IDCFS Licensing Standards. On average, centers employ 16.1 staff in IDCFS-defined positions. Not surprisingly, early childhood assistants and teachers represented the largest share (67.6%) of child care center staff. The single most mentioned (n=4) "other" position was that of bus/van driver.

Of the 496 responding directors, 25.9% indicated that they contracted for food service, 33.7% contracted for building cleaning, 1.9% contracted for grounds maintenance, and 11.2% indicated that they contracted for "other" services. Among the 46 respondents contracting for "other" services, 5 indicated that they contracted for pest control, the single most mentioned "other" service.

Directors were asked "How many of your instructional staff have a second paying job outside of your center?" Three hundred ninety seven responded to the question, with 118 answering "Don't Know." Of the 279 who answered the question with a number, over two-thirds (68.7%) indicated that at least one member of their instructional staff had such an outside job. The 279 directors who answered reported that on average, almost 2 (mean=1.8; median=1; range = from 1 to 15) of their instructional staff had an outside paying job. On average 15.8% of each center's instructional staff worked in a second outside paying job (median=11.1%, with a range from 0 to 100%).  Our sample includes part-time programs.

Professional Development

Illinois has two inter-related programs aimed at increasing retention of educated child care practitioners - T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) and Great START (Strategies to Attract and Retain Teachers). T.E.A.C.H. provides partial funding for college scholarships, travel, and release time for both center staff and family child care providers in an effort to increase the educational levels of practitioners, increase practitioner compensation, and improve the consistency of care for children. Great START is a wage supplement program that aims to increase child care practitioner retention while encouraging increased education levels.

One director commented: "Great START and TEACH are both wonderful programs that the state offers and many of our staff attained more school solely because of these programs."

Out of 496 total child care centers in the sample, 93.7% of the 411 directors who responded to the question reported they had heard of the Great START program, and 91.6% of 410 responding directors reported they had heard of the T.E.A.C.H. program.

When asked about participants in their centers, 225 directors reported that 158 of their 2570 (7.4%) staff members were participants in the T.E.A.C.H. program and 438 of 2570 (18.1%) were Great START participants. Table 5 presents a breakdown of T.E.A.C.H. and Great START participation by center staff position. As it shows, early childhood teachers represent the majority of center staff who participate in both T.E.A.C.H. and Great START.

Table 5. T.E.A.C.H. and Great START Participation by Position

This table should be read, "Of the 438 Great START participants, 63.1% were Early Childhood Teachers."

Position T.E.A.C.H. Great START
Administrative Director 5.2% 7.1%
Director/Teacher 18.2% 13.4%
Early Childhood Teachers 57.1% 63.1%
Early Childhood Assistant 16.2% 13.8%
School-Age Worker 3.0% 2.4%
Assistant S/A Worker .3% .3
N 158 438

Of the 408 directors who answered the question, 83.7% responded that they had heard of the Illinois Director Credential program.

When asked about other professional development opportunities within their center, 68.2% of the 404 responding directors indicated that they had a staff professional development plan for their center. Of 400 responding directors, 51.5% said that they had an individual staff professional development plan for their instructional staff. Of 400 responding director, 94.6% reported that they offered in-service training opportunities for professional staff. Less than half (48.6%) of 402 responding directors indicated that they had a salary scale that they shared with staff.

Of the 262 directors reporting that they had a salary scale, 89.1% reported that it was differentiated by educational level, 84.9% reported a salary scale differentiated by level of experience, 28.2% reported a salary scale differentiated by additional or supplemental training, and 11.7 % (26) reported a salary scale differentiated on some "Other" basis. Among the other bases for a salary scale were: length of employment/years of service, union contracts, pay grades set by campus/college human resources.

Staff Turnover

Turnover Rates

One of the factors positively related to high quality child care is the stability of the child care workforce. In order to assess stability, we asked directors a series of questions related to staff turnover, applicants, and new hires.

Turnover was measured in two ways with the data collected from this survey. First, directors were asked how many permanent full- and part-time staff members - not temporary, substitute or seasonal staff - left their programs in the last 24 months. Table 6 compares the number of centers who had staff leave to the number of centers employing each position to determine the turnover rate at the center level.

Table 6. Two-year Center Level Turnover Rate by Position

This table should be read, "11.8 percent of centers employing Administrative Directors had one or more Administrative Directors leave their position in the past 24 months." Percentages reflect weighted values.

Position Number of Centers
Employing Staff
(Number of centers
reporting at least
one staff member of
the indicated position -
raw frequencies).
Number of Centers
Who Had Staff Leave
in Past 24 Months
(Number of centers
reporting at least
one staff member of
the indicated position -
raw frequencies).
Center Level
Turnover Rate
Administrative Director 322 33 11.8%
Director/Teacher 315 57 15.9%
Early Childhood Teacher 368 264 71.2%
Early Childhood Assistant 358 62 58.0%
School-Age Worker 221 57 22.0%
School-Age Assistant 172 19 8.8%

A second measure was used to assess turnover on an individual position level for each staff position. The individual position turnover rate was calculated using the number of employees who had left the previous two years compared to the number of current employees in that position. The individual position turnover rate, displayed in Table 7, tells us for every 100 hundred employees currently working now, how many staff left in that position over the past two years.

Table 7. Two-year Individual Position Level Turnover Rate by Position

This table should be read "For every 100 Administrative Directors working in FY07, 12.4 Administrative Directors left within the two years preceding the survey." Percentages reflect weighted values.

Position Number of
Employees
(From Table 4 -
raw frequencies)
# Staff Who Left
in Past 24 Months
(From Table 4 -
raw frequencies)
Position
Turnover
Rate
Administrative Director 371 37 12.4%
Director/Teacher 450 68 19.0%
Early Childhood Teacher 2532 678 28.0%
Early Childhood Assistant 1755 652 40.8%
School-Age Worker 273 98 37.7%
School-Age Assistant 122 28 24.4%

Because this data is comparable over the past surveys, we have presented the individual turnover rates for the past six surveys (Table 8). In the FY97-FY01 surveys, these data were called replacement rates.

Table 8. Two-year Turnover Rate (Individual Position Level) by Position (FY97 - FY07)

This table should be read "For every 100 Administrative Directors working in FY07, 12 Administrative Directors left in the two years preceding the survey."

Position FY97 FY99 FY01 FY03 FY05 FY07
Administrative Director 24 23 19 21 15 12
Director/Teacher 30 25 44 30 23 19
Early Childhood Teacher 43 45 51 38 32 28
Early Childhood Assistant 69 54 62 55 53 41
School-Age Worker 56 50 100 43 31 37
School-Age Assistant --- 54 119 56 18 24

Over the course of the ten years covered by the last six surveys (including FY07), individual turnover rates have declined for all positions. Except for Administrative Directors, individual turnover rates were consistently higher in FY01. In that year data were based on full-time, full-year programs only as the survey served as a source of baseline data for the Great START program evaluation.

Staff Turnover Reasons

In an effort to understand why child care employees leave their programs, directors were asked "For each category of employee, how important were each of the following reasons for leaving your specific program?"

  1. Found a new job in child care
  2. Found a new job in public schools
  3. Found a new job unrelated to child care or education
  4. Dissatisfied with pay
  5. Dissatisfied with benefits
  6. Dissatisfied with professional development opportunities
  7. Dissatisfied with schedule
  8. Terminated/fired
  9. Retired
  10. Personal
  11. Other

Respondents were asked to use the following 3-point scale: 1 = "Not a Reason"; 2 = "A Minor Reason"; 3 = "A Major Reason" (4 = "Don't Know") to answer.

Table 9 presents the percentage of centers losing staff for which the specified reason was either a minor or major reason for those staff members leaving. For example, for the centers reporting that an Administrative Director left in the previous 24 months, 28.0% indicated that "Finding a new job in child care" was a reason (minor or major) why they left their positions.

Table 9. Turnover Reason by Position: Percentage of Centers That Had At Least One Staff Member of the Specified Position Leave for the Specified Reason (respondents indicating that the reason was a minor or major reason for leaving) during the Preceding 24 Months.

Reason for Leaving Admin. Director Director/Teacher Teacher Assistant Teacher School-Age Worker Assistant School-Age Worker
New Job-Child Care 28.0 59.1 30.4 44.1 18.2 48.9
New Job-Public School 23.0 56.1 28.7 33.7 15.6 49.1
New Job-Other 6.0 50.3 33.0 55.8 24.7 42.2
Dissatisfied-Pay 23.4 54.3 40.1 58.2 30.2 52.8
Dissatisfied-Benefits 32.3 34.2 38.0 39.4 19.6 40.1
Dissatisfied-Professional Development Opportunities 0.0 5.7 6.3 5.7 0.0 8.3
Dissatisfied-Schedule 0.0 33.0 19.7 27.1 15.5 24.2
Terminated/Fired 12.2 14.0 43.2 47.3 20.8 36.3
Retired 37.0 0.0 17.0 10.6 0.0 11.6
Personal 39.7 31.1 56.6 47.9 19.2 0.0
Other 0.0 53.7 57.1 63.9 0.0 0.0
N = Number of centers who lost a staff member of the specified position in the past 24 months. 37 68 678 652 98 28

When looking at the reported turnover reasons by each position in Table 9, there appear to be both similarities and differences between staff in the reasons reported for their leaving their positions. In particular, dissatisfaction with professional development opportunities appears not to be, according to directors, a reason staff leave their centers. On the other hand, dissatisfaction with pay and leaving to take a new job (not mutually exclusive) were, according to directors, reasons that a number of staff left their centers.

  • Although we are able to provide great benefits to our staff (only because we are affiliated with a university/state system), the low wages make it very difficult to recruit and retain staff.
  • I lost two wonderful employees this year because they could make more at Barnes and Noble and I pay more than most daycare centers in my area.
  • It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract and keep good, qualified [staff] in this field. Most leave and go into the local school districts or leave the field completely.
  • We don't have the funding to pay for quality staff or provide them with benefits. Therefore it is very hard to keep staff. Which in turn leads to high turn over rates. Which is unhealthy for the children. Childcare needs additional funding!!!!!
  • The early childhood field is competing with school districts that offer better benefits and pay.

Averaging the responses for each reason for each category of staff indicated that none rose, on average, to even a "Minor Reason," a "2" on the 3-point scale (1 = "Not a Reason"; 2 = "A Minor Reason"; 3 = "A Major Reason".) The highest average reason was 1.62 for Director/Teachers leaving for a new job in child care.

Other analyses (not displayed here) indicated that, averaging over all categories of staff members, only "Dissatisfaction with professional development opportunities" and "Retirement" stood out as consistently significantly less important reason than any other reasons.

It must be emphasized, however, that the survey was completed by someone other than the staff member him/herself who left. It is uncertain as to what extent respondents may accurately represent the importance of each reason to the actual staff member.

Filling Vacant Positions

We asked directors a series of questions about filling vacant positions. First, directors were asked to report how many DCFS qualified applicants, how many program qualified applicants (e.g., met Head Start program qualifications), and how many non-qualified applicants they had for each position. Table 10 presents the number of applicants who applied for each position and the percentage of each who were qualified or not. As Table 10 shows, for all positions except Director/Teachers, the majority of applicants were either DCFS or program qualified. Almost two-thirds of applicants for Director/Teacher positions were not qualified. Two out of every 5 applicants for Administrative Director positions were also not qualified, according to respondents.

Table 10. Percentage (weighted percentages) of applicants by position by qualification.

Qualification Status Admin. Director Director/Teacher Teacher Assistant Teacher School-Age Worker Assistant School-Age Worker
DCFS-Qualified Applicants 46.7% 32.7% 54.3% 58.7% 67.0% 60.0%
Program-Qualified Applicants 11.3% 3.2% 12.0% 15.1% 10.7% 5.0%
Non-Qualified Applicants 41.9% 64.1% 33.7% 26.3% 22.3% 35.0%
Total Number of Applicants (raw frequencies) 177 190 2654 2349 152 123

Commenting on the qualifications of applicants, respondents wrote the following:

  1. I have been a director in the child care field for 4 years. I have seen a progression of difficulty finding qualified individuals for lead teacher positions.
  2. It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract and keep good, qualified people in this field. Most leave and go into the local school districts or leave the field completely.
  3. Type 04 certified teachers are showing up more in the applications I receive. However, the low wages and low respectability of child care as compared with school districts quickly turns them away.
  4. Colleges are not preparing ECE students as well for the real early childhood school environment. Students are not looking to gain experience while in college as much as in the past. Very hard to find college-student assistant teachers. When a teaching position becomes vacant, these same applicants are unable to be hired for the position because they have little or no experience. We have MANY, MANY applicants that are turned away for this reason. The level of professionalism in resumes as well has declined immensely. With online resume services in place today, applicants tend to forget correct grammar and punctuation usage.

Directors were asked to report on the average length of time it took to fill a vacant position. For each position they were asked to respond on the following 4-point scale:

  • "1" = "Less than one week";
  • "2" = "1-2 weeks";
  • "3" = "3-4 weeks";
  • "4" = "More than 4 weeks".

The average response for filling Administrative Directors vacancies was 3.3 (about a month or so.), for Director/Teachers 3.0, for Teachers 3.0, for Assistant Teachers 2.7, for School-Age Workers 2.6, and for School-Age Assistants, 2.4. A repeated measures ANOVA indicated that the mean length of time to fill vacancies varied significantly (p>.05) by position: It took significantly less time to fill the Assistant Teacher vacancies than it did to fill either the Administrative/Director or Teacher vacancies. The time to fill School-Age Assistant vacancies was also significantly less than the time to fill Administrative/Director positions.

Next, directors were asked to report on how the length of time to fill a vacancy has changed over the past two years. For each position they were asked to respond on the following 5-point scale:

  • "1" = "Increased by more than 2 weeks";
  • "2" = " Increased by 1- 2 weeks";
  • "3" = "Stayed the same";
  • "4" = " Decreased by 1- 2 weeks";
  • "5" = "Decreased by more than 2 weeks".

Results indicated that the time to fill vacancies, relative to two years ago, has stayed approximately the same (mean response = 2.6; somewhere between "Increased 1-2 weeks" and "No change"), for all positions. A repeated measures ANOVA indicated that the mean change in length of time to fill vacancies did not significantly vary (p>.05) by position.

Directors were then asked about the qualifications of their hires. Specifically, directors were asked to indicate how many hires for each of six positions met or exceeded DCFS qualifications. As Table 11 shows, except for Administrative Directors, hires were more likely to meet than to exceed DCFS qualifications.

Table 11. Percentage of hires in the past year meeting or exceeding DCFS qualifications.

Position Met DCFS Qualifications Exceeded DCFS Qualifications
# of Centers Responding to Item Number of Hires (Raw Frequencies) %
(Weighted Percentages)
Number of Centers Responding to Item Number of Hires (Raw Frequencies) %
(Weighted Percentages)
Administrative Director 19 20 44.4 26 20 56.0
Director /Teacher 35 49 57.1 32 42 42.9
Early Childhood Teacher 123 344 51.2 139 319 48.8
Early Childhood Assistant 120 342 67.0 73 156 33.0
School-Age Worker 30 42 54.2 22 32 45.8
School-Age Assistant 16 28 76.0 7 9 24.0

Directors were asked to rate how the qualifications of new hires have changed in the last two years. They were presented with the following 5-point response scale:

  • "1" = "Much Less Qualified";
  • "2" = "Somewhat Less Qualified";
  • "3"="Same Qualifications";
  • "4" = "Somewhat More Qualified";
  • "5" = "Much More Qualified".

Table 12 shows that on average, directors rated the majority of new hires to be slightly more qualified. There was no significant (p<.05) relationship between position and perceived changes in new hire qualifications.

Table 12. Perceived changes in qualifications of new hires in the past two years by position.

Position Number of Centers
Responding to Item
(raw frequencies)
Mean
(weighted
statistics)
Median
(weighted
statistics)
Administrative Director 67 3.5 3
Director/Teacher 86 3.5 3
Early Childhood Teacher 233 3.3 3
Early Childhood Assistant 85 3.2 4
School-Age Worker 75 3.2 3
School-Age Assistant 58 3.2 3

Asked to rate the difficulty in filling vacancies in the last two years, directors responded to a five-point scale:

  • "1" = "Very Easy";
  • "2" = "Easy";
  • "3" = "Neither Easy or Hard";
  • "4" = "Hard";
  • "5" = "Very Hard".

As presented in Table 13, directors did not report a strong belief that replacing any staff was either particularly easy or hard. However, they did perceive that hiring early childhood teachers was significantly less easy (p<.05) than hiring other staff.

Table 13. Perceived difficulty in filling positions in the past two years.

Position # of Centers Employing
Responding to Item
(raw frequencies)
Mean (weighted
means/raw number
of respondents)
Median (weighted
means/raw number
of respondents)
Administrative Director 54 2.6 3
Director/Teacher 78 2.6 3
Early Childhood Teacher 245 2.9 3
Early Childhood Assistant 225 2.7 3
School-Age Worker 75 2.6 3
School-Age Assistant 51 2.7 3

On the difficulty of hiring teachers, several directors noted:

  1. Difficult to find qualified staff on part time basis. We are blessed with a wonderful group of people, but finding substitutes is difficult.
  2. We have had difficulty filling our director's position this past year and it has been both frustrating and surprising. One area of difficulty is that the funding levels of childcare are so low that it is very labor intensive for center directors to confidently run a program and not spend a considerable part of their work load with budgeting issues. Our center is fortunate in that we receive a considerable amount of support from the college but even with this additional support, directors who have the qualifications to run a training program are often overwhelmed by administrative and budget issues.

Attraction to Child Care Careers and Employment

To assess the reasons why directors think applicants are not attracted to child care vacancies, they were asked to rate a list of reasons as either a "major reason" (3), "minor reason" (2), or "not a reason" (1). As Table 14 shows, with the exception of "Career opportunities… not known" and "Job openings …not well advertised," all the presented reasons were seen as minor or major reasons why people are not attracted to the child care field. There were however, significant differences in the mean importance of each reason. Each reason was significantly different (p<05) from all others, except between "Better career opportunities in other professions" and "Inadequate benefits." Not surprisingly, "Low salaries" was considered the most important reason and "openings not advertised" as the least important reason.

Table 14. Reasons Applicants Not Attracted to Employment in Child Care

Reason Not Attracted Not A Reason
(raw frequencies)
Minor Reason(raw frequencies) Major Reason (raw frequencies) Mean / n (weighted means/raw number of respondents)
Career Opportunities Not Known 2.3% 68.7% 29.0% 2.3 (210)
Better Career Opportunities in Other Professions 4.0% 22.1% 73.9% 2.7 (347)
Child Care Not Seen as Professional Career 9.1% 28.4% 62.5% 2.5 (351)
Low Salaries .41% 6.0% 93.6% 2.9 (369)
Inadequate Benefits 3.5% 13.8% 82.7% 2.8 (364)
Openings Not Advertised 43.8% 42.0% 14.3% 1.7 (325)

On this issue, several center directors commented:

  • I believe that the lack of pay scales and the lack of benefits has a lot to do with the workers that are available for us to hire.
  • Our salaries are higher than most child care centers however, we cannot compete with the salaries of public school Pre-K programs. It is becoming much more difficult to attract and retain staff; especially those with BA degrees.
  • Benefits not being offered doesn't help the single employees wanting to work here.
  • The wages are low and the cost of providing benefits is too high. Also, many centers are open all year and do not have many days off. The early childhood field is competing with school districts that offer better benefits and pay.

Center Turnover

By accessing the INCCRRA provider database downloaded at two points in time we are able to measure turnover among the different types of child care providers. To do so we compared the number of providers actively providing care on June 30, 2005 to a download of the same database on June 30, 2007. As Table 15 shows, the net result of losing providers, gaining providers, and providers changing type of care provided was a gain of 3.9% in the number of center providers and a gain of 5.7% in the total licensed capacity of child care centers for the two-year period.

Table 15. Provider Turnover, June 30, 2005 to June 30, 2007: Child Care Centers

Active:
6/30/05
Still Active:
6/30/07
Percent Change New Providers:
6/30/07
Percent Change Active: 6/30/07 Percent Change
Number of Active Providers 3008 2693 -10.5% 431 14.4% 3124 3.9%
Total Licensed Capacity 211161 194559 -7.9% 28600 13.6% 223159 5.7%

To obtain information on individual child care staff-rather than for the child care center as a whole-directors were asked to complete a worksheet for all full-time and part-time employees in their programs in this survey. While we recognize the importance of understanding characteristics of employees in the entire child care sector (food service staff, building service staff, bus drivers) in order to accurately assess the economic impact of the child care industry as a whole on local economies, we limited this worksheet to classroom staff and administrative staff only.

Out of the 496 surveys (paper-and-pencil and online) filled out, worksheets were completed for 329 centers (301 from the online survey and 28 from the paper and pencil survey) reporting on 2,683 staff in those centers. It is important to note that not all respondents who returned a survey answered every (or any) question on the staff worksheet, so there is some variation in the number of responses reported for each question. The notation "n" indicates the number of responses to a particular question.

On the staff worksheet, directors reported the following breakdown (Table 16) of employees by position -using only DCFS-defined staff categories.

Table 16. Number of Employees by Position

Position Number of Employees
(unweigted) (raw) n
Weighted Percentages
(46 staff were missing
codes for position)
Administrative Director 212 8.2%
Director/Teacher 286 10.7%
Early Childhood Teacher 1,296 48.8%
Early Childhood Assistant 754 29.5%
School-Age Worker 63 1.9%
School-Age Assistant 26 1.0%
Total 2,6372 100.0%

These numbers are slightly different when compared to Table 4 for two reasons. Table 4 includes total full- and part-time staff, excluding temporary, seasonal, and substitute employees, while Table 16 was based on the survey worksheet insert, which not all directors completed. This worksheet requested information only for full- and part-time employees in their programs.

Using the Department of Labor's definition of full-time employment being 37.5 hours or more per week, staff were divided into two categories - full-time and part-time employees. Of the staff members represented, 59.0% were identified as full-time and 41.0% part-time. Table 17 presents the breakdown of (part-time vs. full-time) work status by position.

Table 17. Number of Employees by Position and Hours Worked

Position Full-Time Part-Time N (unweighted) (raw) n
of those directors who
reported hours of
employment for staff
Administrative Director 85.2% 14.8% 203
Director/Teacher 73.2% 26.8% 277
Early Childhood Teacher 57.9% 42.1% 1,284
Early Childhood Assistant 49.7% 50.3% 742
School-Age Worker 40.4% 59.6% 60
School-Age Assistant 31.3% 68.7% 25

Education and Credentials

For each employee listed on the worksheet, directors were asked to report the highest education level completed and any credentials earned. Illinois licensing standards require center directors to have a minimum of 60 semester college hours, with 18 of those hours in early childhood education or child development; child care teachers to have a minimum of 60 semester hours, with a minimum of 6 semester hours in ECE/CD; and child care assistant teachers are required to have a minimum of a high school diploma.

As Table 18 reveals, over 90% of early childhood teachers had some form of college education.

Over 70% of teachers exceeded the DCFS licensing standards (see Appendix C) inasmuch as they had completed an Associates, Bachelors, or Masters degree. Furthermore, 42.2% of teachers had earned their Associates, Bachelors, or Masters degree(s) in early childhood or child development.

Of those with bachelor's degrees or higher, 20.3% of administrative directors, 32.5% of director/teachers, 24.6% of teachers, and 5.4% of assistant teachers were reported to be 04/02 certified.

Table 18. Center Staff Educational Attainment by Position (column percentages)

Education Category Admin. Director Director/Teacher Teacher Assist.Teacher S/A Worker Assist. S/A Worker All Staff Positions
High School Diploma/GED 0.5 1.8 0.6 43.5 15.9 69.2 14.0
Child Development Associate, Child Care Professional or Montessori (American Montessori Society or Association Montessori International) credential 2.4 2.5 6.1 1.9 4.8 . 4.1
Some College in Early Childhood (ECE) or Child Development (CD), no degree 6.2 7.8 18.6 28.4 27.0 15.4 19.4
Approved Community College Early Childhood Certificate 1.0 2.8 1.9 1.6 . . 1.8
Associates Degree with ECE/CD major 17.6 33.6 24.1 4.9 19.0 . 18.8
Associates Degree with non ECE/CD major 5.2 4.9 6.5 4.6 4.8 . 5.6
Bachelors Degree in ECE/CD 11.9 15.5 14.4 2.7 7.9 3.8 10.7
Bachelors Degree in Other Field 25.2 19.1 20.1 10.4 14.3 . 17.3
Masters Degree in ECE/CD 15.2 6.7 3.7 0.1 . . 3.8
Masters Degree in Other Field 7.6 4.2 3.4 0.9 3.2 . 3.1
Illinois Directors Credential (Level I, II or III) 6.7 0.4 . . . . 0.6
Other Education/Credential .5 .7 .4 .9 3.2 11.5 .8
N 210 283 1287 740 63 26 .

Note: Percentages are column percentages; therefore, this table should be read, for example, "Out of 210 Administrative Directors for whom education and credential information was provided, 25.2% had a Bachelors degree in a field other than early childhood education or child development."

Years of Experience

Directors were asked to report how many years total experience each employee had as a paid child care provider - either in a child care center or as a family child care home provider and how many years each employee had worked as a paid employee in their center. Table 19 presents these results.

Table 19. Years of Experience by Position

Position Years of Experience in Child Care Field Years of Experience in Current Center
Mean ( n) Median n Mean Median n
Administrative Director 17.2 16.0 183 10.8 8.6 160
Director/Teacher 12.4 11.0 234 9.1 6.8 203
Early Childhood Teacher 9.9 8.0 1115 6.5 4.0 987
Early Childhood Assistant 5.9 4.0 640 4.2 2.3 585
School-Age Worker 7.9 5.0 55 4.6 2.8 51
School-Age Assistant 5.5 3.0 22 3.3 1.1 20

Salaries and Wages

Hourly wages were provided for 2,428 center staff. For all staff, the mean (average) hourly wage as reported by directors was $12.58, with a 95% confidence interval of $12.37 to $12.79, and a range of $6.50 to $50.00 per hour (median = $11.15; mode = $7.50). Table 20 displays salaries broken down by position.

Table 20. Hourly Wage by Position

Position Average Hourly Wage Median Hourly Wage Range (From) Range (To) N (raw frequencies;
not all positions were identified correctly.)
Administrative Director $19.04 $18.00 $8.00 $50.00 182
Director/Teacher $13.45 $12.42 $6.55 $37.00 257
Teachers $13.16 $12.00 $6.50 $46.00 1195
Assistant Teachers $9.76 $9.00 $6.50 $23.42 676
School-Age Workers $10.11 $9.50 $6.80 $20.00 59
Assistant School-Age Workers $8.96 $8.25 $6.50 $15.80 22

In an attempt to corroborate the director-reported wage data from this survey, we compared our data with the most recent Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey Data on the child care workforce as compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics Data for second quarter of 2007 for Illinois, http://wic.ilworkinfo.com

The BLS uses three categories that encompass center-based child care staff. Education Administrators, Preschool and Child Care Center/Program (Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Code 11-9031) are defined as those who "Plan, direct, or coordinate the academic and nonacademic activities of preschool or child care centers or programs." Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education (SOC Code 25-2011) "Instruct children (normally up to 5 years of age) in activities designed to promote social, physical, and intellectual growth needed for primary school in preschool, day care center, or other child development facility." Child Care Workers (SOC code 39-9011) "Attend to children in schools, businesses, private households, and child care institutions. Perform a variety of tasks such as dressing, feeding, bathing, and overseeing play."

While we recognize the Salary and Staffing Survey data may not be strictly comparable to the OES Survey Data, the comparison may be useful. The OES Survey revealed the following for the three categories of Illinois child care staff:

  • The median hourly wage for Education Administrators, Preschool and Child Care Center /Program was $20.50, with a mean entry-level wage of $13.39 and a mean experienced wage of $28.37 (entry wages are defined as those in the bottom third of the occupation whereas experienced wages are defined as those in the top two-thirds);
  • The median hourly wage for Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education was $12.52, with a mean entry-level wage of $9.02 and a mean experienced wage of $15.73; and
  • The median hourly wage for Child Care Workers was $9.06, with a mean entry-level wage of $7.35 and a mean experienced wage of $10.73.

Salary Trends
Figure 1 displays the median hourly wages for Director/Teachers, Teachers, and Assistant Teachers as collected in Salary and Staffing Surveys from 1997 through the present Survey. Examining Figure 1 it appears that wages increased over the period FY97-FY07.

Figure 1 - Comparison of Hourly Wages FY97-FY07 (Unadjusted for Inflation)

FISCAL
YEAR
Director/
Teacher
Teacher Assistant
Teacher
FY97 $9.40 $7.40 $5.90
FY99 $10.46 $8.44 $6.67
FY01 $10.18 $9.10 $7.27
FY03 $11.28 $10.36 $8.02
FY05 $12.00 $10.75 $8.25
FY07 $12.42 $12.00 $9.00

However, adjusting the hourly wages for inflation (see http://oregonstate.edu/cla/policsci/faculty-research/sahr/sahr.htm for conversion factors), suggests that the increases from FY97 through FY07 were not only more modest than first appear, but that when we compare FY07 salaries with previous years, there actually have been salary losses over time for director/teachers and assistant teachers. Teachers have fared better and are now higher than they have ever been. These results are displayed in Figure 2.

Figure 2 - Comparison of Hourly Wages FY97-FY07 (Adjusted for Inflation: 1997 dollars)

FISCAL
YEAR
Director/
Teacher
Teacher Assistant
Teacher
FY97 $9.40 $7.40 $5.90
FY99 $10.08 $8.13 $6.43
FY01 $9.25 $8.27 $6.61
FY03 $9.84 $9.04 $7.00
FY05 $9.96 $8.93 $6.85
FY07 $9.87 $9.53 $7.15

Full-time versus Part-time Status
Across all categories of child care staff, hourly wages were significantly different for those employed part-time versus those who worked full-time, (f(1,2371) = 21.81, p < .0001). Full-time workers were paid on average $12.12 per hour whereas part-time staff received $13.14 per hour. However, when we examine each staff category individually, it appears that the effect was accounted for by teachers and assistant teachers; the wages of administrative directors, director/teachers and school-age workers did not differ across full- versus part-time status. Full-time teachers made, on average $11.64 per hour as compared to $15.06 for teachers working part-time (f(1,1191) = 141.59, p < .0001). Similarly, full-time assistant teachers made $9.15 per hour versus $10.22 for assistant teachers working part-time (f(1,442) = 4.29, p < .0001). Table 21 displays hourly wages by position by employment status.

Table 21. Hourly Wages by Position by Full-Time vs Part-Time Status

Position Full-Time
Mean
Full-Time
Median
Full-Time
N
Part-Time
Mean
Part-Time
Median
Part-Time
N
Administrative Director $19.06 $17.31 149 $18.53 $19.00 25
Director/Teacher $13.21 $12.09 187 $14.12 $12.90 67
Teachers $11.64 $11.00 729 $15.06 $13.50 438
Assistant Teachers $9.15 $8.50 330 $10.22 $9.60 333
School-Age Workers $9.36 $9.27 31 $10.59 $9.85 26
Assistant School-Age Workers $10.00 $7.75 7 $8.57 $8.25 15

Staff Experience and Education
Wages were significantly associated with total years of experience in the child care field (r = 50, p < .0001) and this effect held for each category of child care staff. In general, staff who had more years of experience in their current position earned a higher hourly wage. Table 22 displays the hourly wage for all but school-age positions by years of experience in child care.

Table 22. Hourly Wages by Years of Experience in Current Position

Years of Child Care Experience in Current Position Admin. Director Director/
Teacher
Teacher Assistant Teacher
Mean Median N Mean Median N Mean Median N Mean Median N
Less than 1 year $17.13 $16.00 11 $10.48 $10.00 32 $11.20 $10.50 77 $8.17 $7.50 65
1-2 years $11.62 $12.17 4 $12.30 $12.24 17 $10.94 $9.65 174 $8.93 $8.00 193
3-5 years $15.57 $15.00 14 $11.69 $10.51 43 $11.81 $11.00 255 $9.73 $8.93 172
6-9 years $13.41 $13.15 22 $12.49 $12.00 45 $12.86 $12.00 203 $10.32 $9.50 127
10-15 years $17.80 $16.85 37 $13.11 $12.51 56 $13.33 $12.12 265 $10.32 $10.00 73
More than 15 years $21.94 $22.00 92 $16.60 $15.45 63 $16.81 $15.60 216 $12.65 $11.74 39

If we look at all child care center staff as a whole, level of education and wages are positively and significantly correlated (r = .56, p < .0001) and this was true of all categories of staff except school-age workers. Table 23 presents hourly wages by position by education for all but school-age positions.  Education was recoded to an ordinal scale as follows:

  • High School Diploma/GED = 12
  • CDA, Child Care Pro. or Montessori Credential = 13
  • Some College in ECE or CD, No Degree = 13.5
  • Approved Community College Early Childhood Certificate = 13.75
  • Associates Degree with non-ECE/CD Major = 14
  • Associates Degree with ECE/CD Major = 14.5
  • Bachelor's Degree in Other Field = 16
  • Bachelor's Degree in ECE/CD = 16.5
  • Master's Degree in Other FIeld = 18
  • Master's Degree in ECE/CD = 18.5
  • Illinois Director's Credential (Level I, II, or III) = 19

Table 23. Child Care Teacher and Assistant Teacher Hourly Wages by Education Level and Credentials

Education Category Admin Director Director/Teacher Teacher Assistant Teacher
Mean Median N Mean Median N Mean Median N Mean Median N
High School Diploma/GED $10.19 $10.19 1 $9.71 $7.50 5 $9.90 $10.00 7 $8.42 $8.00 286
CDA , Child Care Pro. or Montessori credential $15.24 $12.01 4 $10.89 $11.00 7 $11.60 $10.50 73 $9.71 $10.00 12
Some College in ECE or CD, no degree $15.64 $13.00 10 $11.34 $10.51 21 $10.21 $9.25 217 $9.58 $9.00 190
Approved Community College Early Childhood Certificate $15.00 $15.00 2 $11.64 $11.50 7 $13.24 $12.30 21 $8.71 $8.60 11
Associates Degree with ECE/CD major $15.99 $15.00 34 $11.85 $11.00 87 $11.60 $11.04 286 $10.70 $10.00 31
Associates Degree with non ECE/CD major $15.18 $15.00 11 $12.28 $10.40 12 $10.35 $10.00 81 $10.42 $9.50 32
Bachelors Degree in ECE/CD $19.33 $18.00 21 $14.28 $13.00 37 $15.31 $14.00 178 $13.49 $13.17 19
Bachelors Degree in Other Field $18.29 $16.00 45 $13.89 $12.75 49 $14.29 $13.00 237 $11.97 $11.35 74
Masters Degree in ECE/CD $25.80 $25.00 25 $18.60 $18.43 18 $19.64 $19.50 44 $9.81 $9.81 1
Masters Degree in Other Field $18.83 $20.00 13 $19.19 $14.95 10 $17.00 $17.75 41 $14.57 $16.50 7
Illinois Directors Credential (Level I, II or III) $22.83 $23.00 13 $17.00 $17.00 1 . . . . . .

Importantly, comparing holders of Associates degrees, holders of Bachelors degrees, and those staff who have Master's degrees, those who have their degrees in ECE or CD make significantly more (p < .05) than those who hold the degree in another field. However, if we limit the sample to teachers, the largest class of staff, the difference is only significant for those with Associates degrees.

Not surprisingly, there is a significant positive correlation between years of experience in child care and level of education (r = .24, p < .001). However, when examined by position, the relationship only holds for administrative directors (r = .33, p < .001) and director/teachers (r = .23, p < .001) and for school-age assistants (r = .77, p < .001) but not for teachers, assistant teachers, or school-age staff.

Center Characteristics
We examined hourly wages in relation to several program characteristics, including program duration (part-year versus full-year programs), accreditation status, profit versus non-profit status, center size, and the percentage of children enrolled who receive child care subsidies.

Across all categories of child care staff, wages were significantly higher in part- versus full year programs (f(1,2348) = 435.94, p < .0001). On average, staff in part-year programs earn $15.87 (median=$14.40) per hour as compared to $11.26 (median=$10.00) for full-year staff. This effect holds up for all but the school-age positions. Table 24 displays hourly wages by position by program duration.

Table 24. Hourly Wages by Position and Program Duration

Position Full-Year Part-Year
Median N Mean Median N Mean
Administrative Director $18.19 $16.50 151 $22.06 $20.00 27
Director/Teacher $12.18 $11.93 200 $17.43 $16.83 55
Teachers $11.26 $10.40 876 $17.03 $15.90 293
Assistant Teachers $8.83 $8.29 503 $11.98 $11.17 164
School-Age Workers $10.02 $9.50 54 $12.89 $12.00 5
Assistant School-Age Workers $8.98 $8.33 20 $8.16 $8.24 2

Overall, without regard to position, there was a significant difference in the wages paid by for-profit versus not-for-profit centers. Non-profit centers paid staff significantly more (mean=$13.45; median=$12.00) than for-profit centers (mean=$10.78; median=$9.85), (f(1,2387) = 142.61, p < .0001). Again, this effect held for all but the two school-age positions. Table 25 displays the hourly wages by position for for-profit and not-for-profit centers.

Table 25. Hourly Wages by Position by Center Profit Status

Position For Profit Not For Profit
Mean Median N Mean Median N
Administrative Director $16.77 $15.00 58 $20.14 $20.00 120
Director/Teacher $11.86 $11.25 93 $14.43 $13.00 162
Teachers $10.71 $10.00 346 $14.23 $12.99 823
Assistant Teachers $8.86 $8.25 218 $10.19 $9.60 449
School-Age Workers $9.56 $9.50 24 $10.45 $9.78 34
Assistant School-Age Workers $8.57 $8.50 10 $9.20 $8.25 12

Center size, as determined by self-reported total licensed capacity, was not related to hourly wage. Table 26 displays salary by program size broken down into small, medium, and large program sizes.

Table 26. Hourly Wages by Position by Center Size

Position Center Size(Self-reported Total licensed capacity)
Less than 50 50-100 More than 100
Mean Median N Mean Median N Mean Median N
Administrative Director $19.41 $15.50 31 $18.44 $17.31 75 $19.71 $19.00 66
Director/Teacher $13.11 $12.75 54 $13.56 $12.79 96 $13.51 $12.00 97
Teachers $13.20 $11.25 180 $13.26 $12.50 420 $13.13 $11.50 515
Assistant Teachers $9.16 $8.15 96 $9.67 $9.00 263 $10.01 $9.22 285
School-Age Workers $13.22 $13.00 9 $8.24 $7.50 11 $10.08 $10.00 33
Assistant School-Age Workers $9.11 $8.50 5 $7.45 $8.00 4 $9.13 $8.25 12

Overall, there was not a significant correlation between the percentage of Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP; subsidy) children enrolled and wages.

Regional Differences in Wages. Next, we calculated hourly wages by CCR&R Service Delivery Areas (SDAs). Table 27 presents the hourly wages reported by SDA for each position except the two school-age positions.

Table 27. Child Care Wages by Service Delivery Area (SDA) by Position

CCR&R Office Location Position
Administrative Director Director/Teacher Teacher Assistant Teacher
Mean Median N Mean Median N Mean Median N Mean Median N
Rockford $20.05 $21.10 3 $14.84 $13.33 9 $9.81 $9.63 36 $7.58 $7.14 29
DeKalb $20.74 $18.75 13 $11.25 $11.00 17 $11.05 $10.88 130 $8.55 $8.46 49
Waukegan $22.00 $21.00 4 $21.61 $19.40 6 $18.73 $20.00 35 $13.18 $13.00 15
Glen Ellyn $18.58 $17.35 22 $13.89 $12.98 34 $12.30 $12.00 102 $9.73 $9.50 64
Joliet $15.04 $14.00 10 $11.58 $10.40 23 $9.96 $9.40 48 $8.04 $7.75 34
Chicago $20.92 $20.20 50 $14.73 $14.22 56 $15.29 $13.75 296 $10.56 $9.82 182
Davenport $13.39 $13.00 5 $12.82 $9.25 14 $10.43 $8.78 60 $8.06 $7.50 34
Peoria $16.92 $16.50 8 $10.25 $9.30 11 $10.44 $10.51 68 $8.42 $7.75 29
Bloomington $19.52 $15.00 10 $11.99 $10.25 7 $13.81 $13.45 43 $10.38 $8.26 30
Urbana $17.02 $15.58 12 $11.23 $10.40 30 $10.47 $9.88 95 $8.11 $8.00 45
Charleston . . . . . . . . . . . .
Quincy $22.23 $19.71 3 . . . $9.92 $9.34 60 $7.53 $7.40 11
Springfield $16.22 $15.00 9 $9.59 $9.85 7 $9.74 $8.25 36 $8.01 $7.50 33
Granite City $15.58 $13.30 18 $10.30 $9.00 27 $10.83 $9.50 76 $8.18 $8.00 67
Mt Vernon $10.61 $10.64 5 $9.36 $10.25 7 $8.60 $9.00 34 $7.48 $7.50 12
Carterville . . . $18.42 $20.00 4 $11.32 $8.66 47 $10.94 $7.50 29

Table 28 presents the median hourly wages reported by SDA for full- and part-time teachers and assistant teachers (the largest categories of child care staff), broken down by full-year and part-year programs.  It is possible for part-time hourly wages to appear higher than full-time wages as the median in each table was computed based on the number of staff for whom hours and wage information was provided which varies for each CCR&R SDA and for each position.

Table 28. Child Care Teacher Median Hourly Wages by Service Delivery Area (SDA)

Service Delivery Area CCR&R Office Location Full-Year Program Part-Year Program
Teachers Assistant Teachers Teachers Assistant Teachers
FT PT FT PT FT PT FT PT
SDA 1 Rockford $9.22 . $7.00 $7.50 $9.90 . $7.53 $7.26
SDA 2 DeKalb $10.79 $8.80 $8.50 $7.00 $11.80 $13.00 $8.50
SDA 3 Waukegan $14.00 $20.60 $14.00
SDA 4 Glen Ellyn $11.00 $11.85 $9.13 $9.00 $12.75 $9.80
SDA 5 Joliet $9.50 $8.33 $7.50 $8.00
SDA 6 Chicago $12.02 $12.53 $9.00 $9.25 $19.10 $16.28 $11.08 $11.50
SDA 7 Davenport $9.00 $8.19 $8.00 $7.00 . . . .
SDA 8 Peoria $10.83 $9.72 $9.06 $7.20 $11.96 $11.00 $9.50
SDA 9 Bloomington $13.00 $12.42 $11.15 $8.00 $16.46
SDA 10 Urbana $9.85 $9.32 $8.25 $7.80 $10.77
SDA 11 Charleston
SDA 12 Quincy $9.53 $8.65 $7.35 $7.62
SDA 13 Springfield $8.89 $7.50 $7.82 $6.86
SDA 14 Granite City $10.00 $8.00 $8.25 $7.75 $6.00
SDA 15 Mt Vernon $9.00 $6.88 $7.00 $7.50
SDA 16 Carterville $8.50 $6.83 $6.83 $6.83 $17.68 $16.00

Note: Statistics for which there were fewer than 3 observations were deleted.

Of the low salaries in the field, one director acknowledged the problem:

  • We try to treat our staff well, but the salaries are very low. If we raised our tuition we would price ourselves out of the market. Most teachers are female and have spouses with "normal salaried" jobs. If they were single, they could not afford to work in child care.

Others commented:

  • I have a teacher that has been here for 16 years and will be earning just $2.00 more than minimum wage! Another teacher will be earning just $1.50 more than minimum wage after 13 years! Something is wrong!
  • I wish that we could afford to pay our staff what they deserve.

One director noted that salary (in)equity is not evenly distributed:

  • We're lucky to be in one of the few programs in which staff are adequately compensated based on qualifications and experience. However, administrator and teacher salaries are still not commensurate with starting public school administrative or teaching staff.

Benefits

Directors were asked to report on a variety of benefits. For each benefit, the director could indicate whether 1) it was paid in full or partially by the child care center, 2) if employees received the benefit through the center but paid for the benefit themselves, or 3) if the benefit was not available to the employee. As presented in Table 29, the majority of employees did not receive health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, or pension/retirement benefits, reduced child care or educational stipends. Conversely, the majority of staff did receive paid sick leave, vacation leave, and paid holidays.

Table 29. Benefits by Availability and Funding Source

Benefit % Paid by Center
(Full or Partial)
% Paid by
Employee
% Not
Provided
N
Health Insurance 36.1 8.8 55.1 2296
Dental Insurance 23.8 10.0 66.2 2297
Life Insurance 28.7 11.1 60.2 2284
Pension 35.5 9.2 55.3 2283
Sick Leave 75.5 3.0 21.5 2299
Vacation 73.1 4.3 22.5 2325
Holidays 80.2 2.1 17.8 2299
Reduced/Free Child Care 47.4 5.0 47.7 2070
Educational Stipends 53.4 2.4 44.2 2220

This table should be read, "Out of the 2,296 employees for whom directors provided health insurance information, 36.1% receive paid benefits from their center."

Examining the provision of benefits by position, we calculated the percentage of administrative directors, teachers, and assistant teachers who received paid benefits (that is, paid by the center) by full-time versus part-time status. As Table 30 reveals, a large majority of full-time administrative directors, teachers, and assistant teachers received paid sick leave, vacation time, and holidays. Most directors, teachers, and assistant directors did not receive dental or life insurance or pensions. Around half of all staff received reduced or free child care and educational stipends.

Table 30. Percent of Full-Time Staff Who Receive (Full or Partial) Benefits Paid by the Center by Position

Benefit Administrative
Director
Director/
Teacher
Teacher Assistant
Teacher
Health Insurance 56.3 39.7 59.3 42.7
Dental Insurance 35.9 29.3 42.1 29.3
Life Insurance 44.4 30.9 48.2 34.1
Pension 42.8 31.9 48.6 27.2
Sick Leave 81.7 75.5 82.1 73.9
Vacation 91.3 86.4 88.7 84.5
Holidays 95.4 85.1 94.3 87.8
Reduced/Free Child Care 51.0 50.7 53.1 50.1
Educational Stipends 54.8 48.9 59.1 51.7

This table should be read, "Out of all Full-Time Administrative Directors for whom health insurance information was provided, 56.3% received health insurance paid by their child care center.

For part-time staff, the percentages receiving any benefit were, in general, much less than for full-time staff. Chi-square analyses conducted for each benefit indicated that part-time staff as a whole were significantly ( p < .0001) less likely to receive all benefits with the exception of reduced/free childcare and educational stipends, for which there was no difference by work status. Table 31 illustrates the relatively lower rate of benefits for part-time staff.

Table 31. Percent of Part-Time Staff Who Receive (Full or Partial) Benefits Paid by the Center by Position

Benefit Administrative
Director
Director/
Teacher
Teacher Assistant
Teacher
Health Insurance 20.4 12.1 13.6 12.2
Dental Insurance 5.6 3.7 7.0 6.7
Life Insurance 15.6 6.7 8.8 8.9
Pension 13.8 31.4 28.7 23.2
Sick Leave 90.8 64.3 78.3 57.6
Vacation 73.1 58.1 56.1 47.3
Holidays 80.4 67.8 71.1 52.8
Reduced/Free Child Care 36.5 49.2 50.3 36.1
Educational Stipends 40.9 47.0 62.4 46.7

This table should be read, "Out of all Part-Time Administrative Directors for whom health insurance information was provided, 20.4% received health insurance paid by their child care center.

A majority of part-time assistant teachers received none of the benefits listed, save sick leave and holidays. For part-time teachers, less than 1 in 7 received health insurance from their employers; less than 1 in 14 received dental insurance from their employers; less than 1 in 10 received life insurance from their employers; and less than one-third had an employer-sponsored pension plan. Part-time administrative directors tended to receive slightly higher levels of benefits than other staff. The majority received paid sick leave, vacations, and holidays. However, most did not receive educational stipends, health, dental, or life insurance, a pension plan, or reduced child care. (Generalizations from these percentages to the population must be made with some caution as the numbers of individuals representing part-time staff may be rather small).

Comments about insurance coverage were common among our respondents. The following are typical:

  • Although we provide health insurance (we pay 50%) several employees opt out due to the high cost. We also offer a retirement plan with 3% employer match, but several also choose not to participate. While hourly wages have improved somewhat with the ISBE collaboration and additional sources of revenue, we still have a long way to go.
  • Not enough funds available to provide health and dental insurance. Staff do not want to pay any portion of the cost of the insurance. Wish there was a insurance group that would consider low income child care employees at a reasonable rate. Everything is very expensive. Income is so low the staff can not afford the cost nor can the agency
  • Two major issues are faced within this career field. First, pay is notoriously low for the educational demand, however if pay were to increase so would fees within the agency. Our community could not withstand the cost of childcare if we compensated our teachers appropriately. Secondly, benefits are extraordinarily costly because most childcares are small groups. Health Insurance especially eats up a rather large chunk of our budget. Ideally we could at some point become part of a larger group which would hopefully drive down healthcare costs.

A director sums up the pay/benefits/rates conundrum:

  • I feel strongly that the entire childcare field is a huge Catch 22. You have to have good employees in order to retain customers, but in order to pay good employees well, you have to charge your customers outrageous fees, which make them hard to retain. We currently have the highest rates in the area, yet can only afford to pay our full time employees .50 over minimum wage. This is difficult for someone with a 2 year degree to swallow, much less someone with a Bachelors or Masters. Those people use this field as a stepping stone job- which leads to high turnover rates and negatively affects the entire field. It is extremely discouraging to me, as a director, to see the opportunities children are missing when they cannot bond with experienced, caring teachers. We attempt to provide other benefits like childcare discounts and vacation time, but these are often not enough to retain people.

More positive situations were reported, tempered with realization:

  • Our center is viewed as an employee benefit for a larger organization. If we were a "stand alone" center, we would never be able to pay the wages and benefits that we are able to do. All, or nearly all benefits are paid by the organization. The income received from tuition and other sources barely covers salaries, supplies, and other misc. expenses. Our budget is a "break down" budget with many expenses not charged back to our department. We are very, very lucky. However, I know that most other centers in Illinois are not so lucky.

Profile of Family Child Care Home Providers:

Key Findings

From the 10,343 invitations sent to IDCFS licensed family child care home providers, 1,162 participated in the web survey. Three hundred thirty one family child care home providers requested a paper-and-pencil survey be mailed to them. Of these, 228 family child care home provider surveys were returned completed. In total, 1,390 family child care home provider surveys were completed out of 10,343 delivered invitations, for a response rate of 13.4 %.

Note that not all respondents who returned a survey answered every question, so there is some variation in the number of responses reported for each question. The notation ('n" or "n=") indicates the (raw) number of responses to a particular survey item. However, note that all statistics (mean, median, etc.) and percentages reported were calculated with weighted samples.

As was performed with the responses of child care centers, responses of family child care home providers were weighted relative to their representation in each county. All statistical tests were conducted and results reported with weighted samples.

Completed Surveys

Table 32. Survey Return Rates by Service Delivery Area: Family Child Care Home Providers

Service Delivery Area CCR&R Main Office Location Number of Providers Number of Web Surveys Completed (raw frequencies) Number of Paper Surveys Completed (raw frequencies) Percentage of Surveys Completed (weighted percentages)
SDA 1 Rockford 747 113 17 17.4
SDA 2 DeKalb 493 95 9 21.1
SDA 3 Waukegan 547 27 4 5.7
SDA 4 Glen Ellyn 517 70 8 15.1
SDA 5 Joliet 593 85 14 16.7
SDA 6 Chicago 3574 190 69 7.2
SDA 7 Davenport 407 64 10 18.2
SDA 8 Peoria 337 34 12 13.6
SDA 9 Bloomington 272 55 7 22.8
SDA 10 Urbana 676 132 24 23.1
SDA 11 Charleston 176 52 6 33.0
SDA 12 Quincy 376 31 2 8.8
SDA 13 Springfield 467 71 10 17.3
SDA 14 Granite City 621 69 17 13.8
SDA 15 Mt. Vernon 318 44 9 16.7
SDA 16 Carterville 222 27 9 16.2
Totals 10,343 11,593 2,273 13.4

NOTE: Not all respondents indicated their location.

Demographics

Gender

Almost all (99.8%; n=1,223 of the 1,227 who reported their gender) family child care providers responding to the survey were female.

Ethnicity

As Table 33 shows, a little over 60 percent of respondents identified themselves on the survey as White and approximately 30 percent identified themselves as African-American. Relative to population counts of Illinois, African-Americans are over-represented among licensed family child care home providers and Latino-Hispanic providers are under-represented.

Table 33. Respondents' Race/Ethnicity (N = 1,224)

Race/Ethnicity n (raw
frequencies)
Percentage
(weighted
percentages)
White/Caucasian 902 60.2
African-American 250 30.6
Hispanic 49 7.0
Native American 8 .6
Asian 6 .6
Other 8 1.0

Age

Table 34 shows that the majority (80%) were 30 to 59 years of age, most (62.8%) of survey respondents were 40 years of age or older, and that less than one-fifth were under 30 or over 59 years of age.

Table 34. Respondents' Age (N = 1,233)

Age Range n (raw
frequencies)
Percentage
(weighted
percentages)
Under 20 years 1 0.2%
20-29 Years 102 8.0%
30-39 Years 398 29.0%
40-49 Years 358 29.3%
50-59 Years 286 24.8%
60 Years or over 88 8.7%

Experience

Providers were asked to report how long they had been taking care of children in their home for pay. Providers who answered the survey item reported that they had been caring for children for an average of 10.4 years (n=1,185; median=8.0 years; range= 0 to 47 years). Almost half reported that they had cared for children in their homes for 8 or more years.

Providers were also asked to report if they had ever been employed in a child care center or public school and if so, for how many years. Of the 1,386 providers responding to the question, almost twenty seven percent (26.5%; n=370) reported that they had done so, with an average of 5.8 years (median = 4.00 years; range = 0 to 37 years).

Education

Family child care home providers were asked to indicate the highest educational level they had completed and in doing so, whether their education was in early childhood education or child development. We find in Table 35 that 20 percent of providers have earned a certificate or college degree in ECE/CD and another 6.4% had completed at least some college coursework in early childhood education or child development. Almost 25% of providers had a bachelor's or master's degree in any field and another 22.8% had associate's degrees. Three percent (28 survey respondents) indicated that they had only "Some High School."

Table 35. Respondents' Education Level (N = 1,009)

Education Level n (raw
frequencies)
Percentage
(weighted
percentages)
Some High School 28 3.0
High School Diploma/GED 381 35.5
Some College-ECE/CD 52 6.4
Some College - Other 6 .8
Approved Community College ECE Certificate 7 1.2
Associate's Degree - ECE/CD 131 12.8
Associate's Degree - Other 110 10.0
Bachelor's Degree - ECE/CD 39 4.5
Bachelor's Degree - Other 153 15.6
Master's Degree or higher - ECE/CD 11 1.5
Master's Degree or higher - Other 23 2.6
Other education 68 6.2

NOTE: 381 providers did not provide a valid response.

Thirty seven (37) providers out of the 1,347 (2.2%) who responded to the question indicated that they had a 04/02 (early childhood) teaching certificate.

Professional Development

Accreditation

In this administration of the Salary and Staffing Survey, family child care home providers were not asked to report on their accreditation status. Rather, we relied on data reported by the accrediting bodies themselves. According to its website, as of February 7, 2008, 121 Illinois providers (approximately 1.2% of the 10,343 licensed family providers) were accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). However, due to methodological issues with the NSurvey software, these providers could not be linked to those who completed the survey.

T.E.A.C.H. and Great START Participation

Providers were asked about their awareness of both the T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) program and the Great START (Strategies to Attract and Retain Teachers) program. As described in the discussion of child care center programs, T.E.A.C.H. provides partial funding for college scholarships, travel, and release time for both center and family child care providers in an effort to increase the educational levels of practitioners, increase practitioner compensation, and improve the consistency of care for children. Great START is the wage supplement program that aims to increase child care provider retention while encouraging increased provider education levels.

  • Nearly 80 percent of respondents (79.7%; n=1065 of 1,337) had heard of the T.E.A.C.H program.
  • Over 80 percent of respondents (81.1%; n=1088 of 1,339) had heard of the Great START program.

Training and Training Opportunities

We asked family child care home providers to report if they had received training in early childhood education (ECE) or child development (CD) in the last year. Table 36 displays where family child care providers reported attending training.

Table 36. Sources of Training (N=1390)

Training Sources n Percentage
Child Care Resource and Referral Workshops 1119 79.9%
Local Community Workshops 472 34.5%
Professional Meeting or Conference Workshops 450 35.2%
High school or vocational school courses 6 .4%

Note: Multiple responses were possible.

Fifteen hours per year is the minimum required by licensing standards. On average, family child care home providers reported spending 23.4 hours in workshops or conferences (N=993; median=16.0 hours).

We also asked providers if they had completed any college coursework in early childhood education (ECE) or child development (CD) in the last year. Of the 1,346 providers who responded to the survey question, 446 (22.3%) reported they had done so. Of the 264 who indicated how many credit hours they had completed, the average was 9.6 credit hours of ECE or CD coursework in the past year (median=6 credit hours).

Overall, the majority of providers (86.0%) responded "yes" when asked if they felt that they had adequate training opportunities. However, when asked which difficulties they had trying to find appropriate training or educational opportunities.

  • 5.0% agreed that their community does not have enough courses or workshops or enough variety;
  • 24.3% agreed that the cost of training is too high;
  • 5.0% agreed that the quality of training is not good;
  • 41.3% agreed that most opportunities are during the day or work week when it is difficult to attend;
  • 31.6% agreed that they were unable to leave the house or family to attend training;
  • 5.7% agreed that there was no reason to pursue more training; and
  • 13.5% indicated that there were other difficulties in pursuing training, including the travel distance to attend training and available time.

Capacity and Enrollment

For the 1,323 who responded to the item "What is the total licensed capacity of your home?" family child care home providers reported an average of 9.5 children with a median of 8 and a range from 3 to 20 children.

During a typical week, the largest number of children a provider cared for, excluding her own children, was, on average, 7.2 children (n=1,343; median=7; range= 0 to 20). During a typical week, providers cared for, on average, 2.9 children (n=1,334; median=2.00; range= 0 to 20) whose families received IDHS and/or IDCFS child care financial assistance. Similarly, providers reported that, on average, 2.1 of their client families (n=1,333; median=1.00; range= 0 to 26) received some form of assistance paying for child care.

Dividing the number of children receiving subsidy by the figure for children cared for in a typical week reveals that, on average, 36.7% of children (n=1,294; median=25; range= 0 to 100%) in family child care receive IDHS and/or IDCFS child care assistance.

On a scale from "1"="There are always vacancies" to "5" = "There are never vacancies," providers averaged 3.3, (n=1351; median=4.00; range= 1 to 5) suggesting that family child care home providers tend not to have vacancies at any given time.

Assistants

Of family child care home providers, 30.7% (n=366 of 1357 respondents) reported having paid assistants and 28.2% (n=377 of 1324) reported having unpaid assistants.

Paid assistants were paid an average of $7.47 per hour (n=342; median=$7.00; range = $1.00 to $20.00 per hour) and worked an average of 24.1 hours in an "average week" (n=353; median=21.0; range = 1 to 60 hours per week).

Earnings and Benefits

Operating Expenses

Providers were asked to report their annual expenses (food, utilities, insurance, and materials), not including wages. Responding providers (n=882) reported average annual expenses of $13,656.78, with a median of $10,000.

Working Hours

Responding providers (n=1159) reported working an average of 49.1 hours per week (median=50.0 hours) and reported operating an average of 47.96 weeks per year (n=980; median=50.00 weeks).

In addition, providers reported spending an average of 15.7 hours per week on various child care-related activities outside of caring for the children, such as preparing food, shopping, cleaning, record keeping and schedule planning (N=1160; median=50.0 hours).

Earnings

Licensed family child care home providers reported average gross annual earnings of $28,165.44 (n=1024; median= $25,000). Average net earnings were reported by 910 respondents to be $14,502.66, with a median net income of $12,000. Twenty-five percent of providers net $6000 or less and 75 percent net $20,000 or less. Only 10 percent of licensed family child care providers reported netting more than $28,000 annually.

With the average provider working approximately 48 weeks per year and over 49 hours per week, an average annual net income of $14,502.66 works out to around $6.17 per hour. (Before July 1, 2007 the minimum wage was $6.50; on July 1, 2007 it increased to $7.50. The survey was conducted from May 1, 2007 until September 21, 2007).

In past surveys family child care home providers' were given the option of checking income ranges rather than reporting exact income level. Therefore, it was not possible to compute an average income level earned for family child care providers, to adjust the income for family child care providers for inflation, and to compare directly earnings across years/surveys.

To make some general comparisons in the earnings of family child care providers across the past 10 years, the gross and net earning reported in the current Salary and Staffing Survey were recoded to the category ranges utilized in past surveys. Figures 3 and 4 present salary trends from FY97 through FY07. Figure 3 presents the percentage of providers by gross income; Figure 4 presents the percentage of providers by net income. (Both sets of figures are unadjusted for inflation).

Figure 3. Gross Income Ranges Reported FY97-FY07 (% of Providers)

Gross Income FY97 FY99 FY01 FY03 FY05 FY07
$5,000 or Less 9 6 9 9 8 10
$5,001 - $11,000 22 15 11 15 11 7
$11,001 - $17,000 30 25 19 20 17 13
$17,001 - $23,000 22 24 22 23 20 15
Over $23,000 17 30 39 33 44 55

This figure should be read, "Out of all family child care providers providing income data in FY97, 9% reported a gross income of $5,000 or less."

Figure 4. Gross Income Ranges Reported FY07-FY07 (% of Providers)

Gross Income FY97 FY99 FY01 FY03 FY05 FY07
$5,000 or Less 28 28 26 29 24 23
$5,001 - $11,000 43 43 24 29 29 23
$11,001 - $17,000 20 20 26 21 21 23
$17,001 - $23,000 5 5 12 11 14 15
Over $23,000 5 5 12 10 10 18

This figure should be read, "Out of all family child care providers providing income data in FY97, 9% reported a gross income of $5,000 or less."

Without adjusting for inflation over time, the percentage of providers reporting gross and net incomes from FY97 to FY05 appears to have increased in the higher income brackets while the percentage of providers reporting gross and net incomes in the lower income brackets appears to have declined. However, potentially due to changes in methodology and reporting, the pattern for FY07 is somewhat more complex. While gross incomes in FY07 are higher in the lowest and highest ranges, net incomes rose in the highest category and remained relatively constant, at least compared to the two or three previous surveys.

When adjusting for inflation, the amount of buying power of providers within each income bracket has decreased over time. For example, the average net income of $14,503 translates to $13,891 in FY05 dollars and $11,528 in FY97 dollars. Conversely, a provider making $11,001 to $17,000 in FY07 would only have the buying power of a provider in FY05 who made $10,537 to $16,284 and a provider who made $8,745 to $13,514 in FY97.  See http://oregonstate.edu/cla/polisci/faculty-research/sahr/sahr.htm for conversion factors.

Finally, in contrast to providers in licensed child care centers, licensed family home providers' earnings were not associated with their level of education. The correlation between net earnings and education was not significant (r=.0052, p=.88).

Other Income Sources

Somewhat more than one out of 10 providers (11.0%) reported having another paid job in addition to providing child care. More than two-thirds of providers (67.8%) reported having at least one other adult in the household contributing to household income. The majority of providers (83.7%) participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, a reimbursement program administered by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Several family child care home providers described their income situation, for example:

  • Child care as a second income is fabulous. When it is your only income, as it is for me, it's much harder. Your monthly income can increase or decrease by $1000 without notice. I have had to decrease the number of children I can care for in the last couple of years because of my age, and I do not make enough to cover all my expenses. There has never been enough for retirement or for medical insurance. I don't know what can really be done to have it work better. If I take in more children and I hire an assistant, I make even less money. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to look into these issues. I hope some good can come out of it.

Fee Policies

Table 37 presents survey responses to questions regarding a variety of fee policies. As the table shows, while the majority of family child care providers are paid when children are absent due to sickness and slightly more than half are paid when the provider is closed for holidays, most are not paid when client children are on vacation nor when the provider closes for vacation, sickness, or to attend training. Less than 10% of family child care providers indicate that they are paid for time taken off for such reasons as funerals or other family emergencies, jury duty, and weather-related absences.

Table 37. Fee Policies

Provider is Paid When… n (number of respondents
answering in the affirmative,
raw frequencies.)
Percentage (weighted
percentages)
Children are absent because
they are sick
922 69.0%
Children are on vacation 629 48.3%
You are closed for holidays 751 54.9%
You are closed for vacation days 261 19.6%
You are closed for sick days 198 14.7%
You are closed for training days 168 13.7%
Other reasons 127 9.8%

Note: Multiple responses possible.

Over half (55.2%) of the providers charge extra when children are picked up late or when children are dropped off early, with a wide range of fees imposed.

Financial Assistance

When respondents were asked if, in the past two years, they had received any of the following types of financial assistance,

  • 1.6% report having received TANF/AFDC;
  • 9.6% report having received Medicaid for themselves;
  • 9.2% report having received Medicaid for their children;
  • .8% report having received subsidized housing/Section 8 funds;
  • 6.7% report having received food stamps/LINK;
  • 2.6% report having received FamilyCare for themselves;
  • 10.9% report having received KidCare for their children; and
  • 2.2% report having received financial assistance from other sources, including WIC, social security for own children and Medicaid for foster children.

Collectively, more than one in five (22.8%) family child care providers had received some form of public assistance in the two years previous to completing the survey.

Benefits

Of providers who responded to the survey item (n=1262), three out of four (74.9%). were covered by some kind of health insurance. Of these providers, 18.01% were covered in full and 46.8% partially, by their spouse's employer. Approximately one-fifth (18.3%) purchased their own health insurance. Approximately one in seven (14.6%) were Medicaid/Medicare eligible. An additional 2.3% of providers reported "Other" parties paying for their health insurance, including retirement benefits.

A little over half (56.4%) of providers reported contributing to Social Security and Medicare.

Only about one in four (25.2%) reported setting aside money for retirement in the previous year.

Concerns about insurance and retirement were common.

  • Availability for health insurance at an affordable rate for family child care providers is a major concern and issue with me.
  • As a daycare provider I would like to be recognized as a professional not just the babysitter. Sometimes the parents look at us as just the babysitter and why should we be paid for vacation? Why should we be compensated for anything- we get to stay home. I have discussed we don't have a retirement, 401 k, vacation packages or health benefits. We are on our own as far as those things.
  • Having Health Insurance paid would be a huge part in me continuing to provide care as a home childcare provider in my small town. The thought of closing my doors to find a job with benefits really is sad for me.
  • Health insurance and retirement funding are the two funding issues in Family Day Care. Being in business for yourself the cost of health insurance for a single female person is more than one can handle with the other costs of doing business. To be able to buy into some kind of group policy with other providers would be worth looking into. Health insurance is greatly needed. Paid sick days, vacation days, and personal days are needed.

Professional Support

Past studies have found that family child care providers often report feeling isolated since they provide care in their own home and seldom interact with other providers, which can lead to burnout and turnover. However, the majority of providers (84.9%) indicated that they did have at least one other provider to talk to if they had a problem in their program. Providers also report using Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) services. Almost three quarters (74.5%) reported that in the past two years they had contacted their local CCR&R agency for help or information with a question or problem.

Turnover

Among our respondents, almost half (47.0%) indicated that they had, at some time in the past year, considered no longer providing care. Of those 615 providers (n=615), they endorsed the following reasons for why they considered quitting (Note: More than one response could be chosen):

  • Dissatisfied with salary (62.1%)
  • Dissatisfied with benefits (58.9%)
  • Want to go back to school (18.8%)
  • Working conditions (57.9%)
  • Frustration with parents (52.6%)
  • External/Personal factors (13.2%)
  • Retirement (13.6%)
  • Other (17.9%)

When asked how much longer they thought that they would continue to offer care in their homes, half (51.8%; n=721) of providers reported "I don't know." Of the 517 who reported how much longer they expected to continue to offer care, the average number of years was 8.4 years (median=6 years).

The responses in Table 38 indicate that when asked what, if anything, would make them want to continue to provide care for a longer time, the majority of providers most frequently endorsed higher income and better benefits. No other reason offered resulted in a majority of positive responses.

Table 38. Reasons to Offer Care for a Longer Time

Reasons Presented Percentage n (number of respondents who
answered in the affirmative;
raw frequencies.
Higher Income 69.9% 908
Better Benefits 66.3% 851
More Respect 42.1% 516
Less Stress 41.6% 529
Respite Care 34.5% 390
Being Part of a Professional Organization 19.2% 188
Access to Family Child Care Training 17.2% 169
More Contact with Other Providers 15.4% 171
Help with Solving Problems 12.5% 124
Fewer Children Enrolled 9.4% 111
Other 8.1% 88
Shorter Hours 5.7% 63

By accessing the INCCRRA provider database downloaded at two points in time, we were able to directly measure turnover among the different types of child care providers. To do so, we compared the number of licensed family child care providers actively providing care on June 30, 2005 to a download of the same database on June 30, 2007. These data are presented in Table 39. As Table 39 shows, on June 30, 2005, 10,791 licensed family child care providers were "active" in the database. On June 30, 2007, 8035 of those same providers were still actively providing licensed family child care. However, in the June 30, 2007 database, 2308 licensed, active family child care providers appeared who were not in the June 30, 2005 database. The result of family child care providers leaving, new providers starting to provide care, and changes in the type of care provided resulted in 10,343 family child care providers listed as active in the June 30, 2007 database. The net result of losing providers, gaining providers, and providers changing type of care provided was a loss of 4.2% in the number of family child care providers but a gain of 1.7% in the total licensed capacity of family child care providers.

Table 39. Provider Turnover, June 30, 2005 to June 30, 2007: Family Child Care Home Providers

Active June 30, 2005 Still Active June 30, 2007 Percent Change New Providers June 30, 2007 Percent Change Active June 30, 2007 Percent Change
Number of Active Providers 10,791 8035 -25.5% 2308 21.4 10,343 -4.2%
Total Licensed Capacity 89,671 68967 -23.1% 22196 24.8 91,163 1.7%

Motivations and Perceptions about Providing Child Care

To better understand their motivations about providing child care and to gauge their perceptions about being family child care practitioners, providers were presented with two sets of questions. First, providers were asked to rate their reasons for providing care in their home. As Table 40 shows, all reasons presented were endorsed by a majority of respondents. Table 40. Reasons for Providing Child Care

Reason for Providing Care Not A Reason (%) Minor Reason (%) Major Reason (%) Mean / (n)
Earn an income 3.1 15.3 81.7 2.8 (1221)
Stay at home with own children 30.1 8.4 61.5 2.3 (1137)
Enjoy teaching children 1.9 17.4 80.7 2.8 (1203)
Want to be in business for self 10.7 22.1 67.2 2.6 (1197)

In addition, 48.2 % of respondents indicated that there were "Other" major reasons for providing child care in their home, most notably the fact that they "…love children," "…love working with children," "…love what I do," or "…want to help children." Several providers expressed that they were "…providing a service to my community…," that their "…community lacks high quality child care…" and that there was a "…severe need for child care in my community…"

Second, providers were asked to rate their agreement with a number of statements about providing child care. Table 41 presents the results of this set of questions and reveals that the majority of respondents agreed with each item. These results suggest that for most licensed family child care providers in Illinois, while they consider themselves both small business owners and professionals, money is not the primary reason they are child care providers.

Table 41. Perceptions about Providing Child Care

Statement Strongly
Disagree
Disagree Agree Strongly
Agree
Don't Know Mean (n)
I consider myself an early childhood professional 1.9% .3% 39.6% 54.7% 3.5% 3.5 (1168)
I consider myself a small business owner .8% .1% 27.7% 70.7% 0.6% 3.7 (1224)
I do not provide child care for the money 23.6% 7.4% 55.4% 11.4% 2.1% 2.6 (1173)
Getting more training helps me become more professional 3.1% 1.1% 16.50% 77.1% 2.2% 3.7 (799)
Because I am my own boss, I can set my own rates and policies 6.6% 3.0% 53.68% 35.6% 1.2% 3.2 (1208)
I would like more training related to family child care 2.4% 1.9% 54.2% 34.6% 6.6% 3.3 (1111)

Finally, family child care providers were asked to rate whether opportunities for family child care providers had become better, worse, or stayed the same over the past five years. Of the 1,171 providers who responded to this question, 39.9% reported that opportunities for family child care providers have become better over the past five years, 14.6% reported that opportunities for family child care providers have become worse, and 45.6% reported that they had stayed the same over the past five years.

Providers were also asked to explain, in their own words, why they felt that opportunities for family child care providers had become better, worse or stayed the same. Out of the 1390 total respondents, 654 provided explanatory comments.

Of the 448 respondents who thought that opportunities had gotten better, 292 wrote in why they believed so.

  • The Great START and T.E.A.C.H. programs were mentioned by a number of providers. Comments included:
    • "Gateways, TEACH and Great START and quality counts grants have contributed to providers' desire to remain in the profession. These incentives give us a way to improve our programs without having to raise rates beyond what parents can pay and have given us a way to continue our education while still providing care.
    • I think that with the funding of TEACH and Great START it provides motivation and recognition that is so needed in this profession.
    • The implementation of Great START has added significantly to the positive aspects of my profession. I count my many blessings when the check arrives for I fear that the help could end at any time. When I went back to school, at age 51, this money was one of my incentives. I would not have gone back to school if the TEACH program did not exist. What an outstanding program. I could never have paid for my education if the TEACH $ was not provided.
    • The TEACH program has allowed me to take college level courses which greatly enriches my daycare program and raises my self esteem. The Great START program encourages me to continue my education and the financial reward is greatly appreciated.
  • Increased and/or better training opportunities were described by others. Some examples:
    • The wages have increased, there have been more trainings and workshops offered.
    • More training is available and so much is available online, which is a great asset. We live an hour from the closest childcare training center. We received a little raise and more Saturday training workshops are being offered.
    • More opportunity to attend a variety of training either by CCR&R, college coursework, local, state and national associations. Funds are available to providers to attend training, more training has been offered.
  • Several providers mentioned that respect for child care providers was increasing:
    • There seems to be more public programs and supporters available now that understand we do not just baby sit. We are there to help in the development of children both physical and emotional.
    • More emphasis has been placed on being a professional and knowledgeable childcare provider and not just a baby sitter.
    • I think the general public is becoming more aware of how important childcare is.
    • I feel the public is starting to see that daycare is a business and not just babysitting. Providers are becoming educated and therefore this is becoming a business.
  • A number of providers complimented their CCR&Rs:
    • My local CCR & R is a wonderful support
    • The local [CCR&R] office and staff is very supportive and provides recognition to providers and trainings geared to Family Child Care Providers.
    • There has been a wave of awareness that we, home care providers, need more resources. [CCR&R] has been huge in this area for me.
  • Better pay and pay conditions were the subject of several comments:
    • The raise in subsidy payments has been wonderful; also the prospect of health insurance in the near future is a great feeling.
    • The thought of a comprehensive health plan and retirement package sounds excellent, and would definitely weigh out the option of going to work in another field. It looks like we are headed in the right direction. Overall we need to have access to benefits and perks just as other employees at other jobs do. That, in itself, would make providers feel more comfortable with their decision to provide care for families and know that by doing something they enjoy, they can still provide all the basic needs for their families as well.
    • Because we all got a raise and the new hot line to call in the certificate makes it easy to get your money on time.
    • Families expect to pay more for good care.
    • Increases in what the state will pay which will attract parents to put their child in day care if cost is an issue.
    • Salary is improving.
    • Somewhat better, the rates have increased slightly.
  • One provider summed up all the help she had been given:
    • In the past 5 years, I have had help with earning my CDA credential, renewed my NAFCC accreditation, been awarded Quality Counts grants, expanded my family child care home to a group family child care home and have been elected president of our local family child care association for a third term. I have received the greatest help and support from other licensed providers, my local child care resource & referral agency, and my state licensing representative. I have been awarded a T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship and have taken numerous early childhood classes at the community college near my home. Taking those classes helped me earn four early childhood certificates from the community college and increased my Great Start level. There are tremendous opportunities for providers and resources to help us achieve our goals.

Of the 159 providers who thought opportunities over the past five years had become worse, 145 providers wrote explanations for why they had become worse.

  • Several providers wrote of difficulties in finding clients:
    • Childcare enrollments have declined due to the economy, my local park district is cheaper, and there are more licensed exempt providers in the area or family members caring for children.
    • Even though I am a member of two Resource & Referral Services in my county, the number of calls received from prospective clients needing in home day care has greatly diminished- possibly as much as 75% a year. These statistics have completely discouraged me from raising my fees or bettering any personal benefits
    • I have put out flyers, sent letters to neighboring care center to ask them to give me overflow or age group they do not except. Offer discount to clients. Circulate flyers in their schools or work environment. Did price adjustments and nothing has worked for me. I really want this to work because I truly love babies and enjoy caring for them.
    • It has become more difficult in my area to maintain enrollment in the preschool age group, especially as a part time program. There is still demand for infant care and for full time care. But fortunately or unfortunately the recent boom of preschool programs in my community has made it more difficult for a small in-home program like mine to compete. I have an IL secondary teaching certificate, and I have used my training and background to build a strong program, but marketing in the current, competitive environment is difficult.
    • It is very hard to compete with all the child care homes that are not licensed.
  • Families/parents were the source of complaints for several providers:
    • The respect issue with the children and parents are decreasing. It's just the way people are today. There was more respect 10 years ago than there is now. I felt more appreciated and not so much like a welcome mat.
    • Parents are not aware about how quality care impacts their children now and causes damage in their development in a way unlikely to be undone in the future.
    • Clients are more the "me" generation.
    • I feel that the parents want childcare but don't think they should have to pay …
  • A number of providers complained about increasing rules and regulations:
    • DCFS has more and more regulations and paperwork.
    • I feel that the regulations that the state is requiring for HOME providers are so restricting that new providers are not willing to be licensed. Fewer restrictions would encourage more providers to be licensed. That would allow for more supervision, instruction, and support for providers. More licensed providers would present more opportunities for the children of Illinois to be cared for in a loving caring home environment at prices that are affordable to parents.
    • I have been a child care provider for 19 years. I feel more stress put on us by more outside hours and stricter rules. No benefits and fear of not doing everything expected of us.
    • I have been a childcare provider for over 20 years. It has been a fulfilling career and met my own family's needs. At this time now the requirements of education have been raised. Regulations are stricter in the daycare home itself. Both of which I follow and feel more professional for doing so. But it takes money and my free time to maintain all these requirements and my business has not really seen that much of a jump monetarily. My husband and I are nearing retirement and I would like to have more of a pension or extra money to purchase insurance. That is no extra monies in our daycare budget for that. I provide excellent service yet I can only earn low income to nurture and educate our first precious people to enter the school system. I don't know how to fix that. Thanks you for giving me this chance to "speak".
    • The different authorities have conflicting rules/regulations which causes more stress to a stressful work environment.
  • The economy was blamed by a several providers:
    • Higher prices of fuel and the economy. Parents unable to pay do to income not increasing with the economy. After parents pay bills and buy fuel for vehicles to go to work, they don't have enough income left for child care. State income guides lines are to high for the economy today. Qualifications need to benefit clients better.
    • With the poor economy, several families have chosen to have a parent stay at home.  Other families have had to relocate out of state to find employment.
  • Several providers listed a number of these interrelated causes:
    • Many families have lost jobs or been reduced part time. In some cases, they have had to take off shift jobs. I have more part time attendees and more lower income families. Parents have also decided to send children to centers instead of home day care. I get lots of calls for infants but few calls for pre-school age children. School age children are being offered on-site care, so many of the families are taking advantage of that also.
    • The opportunities for family child care providers have become worse because we are now required to increase our education in order to maintain our license, yet we have not seen it in the income that we receive. We are expected by both the state and the parents, to literally be teachers but we don't receive a pay that is sufficient enough to purchase the equipment to do the job. Our jobs are the most important to the welfare of this country, and the most disrespected and under-paid.

Of the 564 providers who thought that opportunities over the past five years had stayed the same, 176 providers gave explanations why opportunities have stayed the same. While a substantial number of providers wrote such comments as, "I haven't found much problems either way," "Nothing changed," or "No changes made," others wrote more specific comments.

  • Pay or reimbursement rates were among the most common subjects of comments:
    • It has stayed the same because of the salary.
    • I don't think that we have much opportunity for any growth as business owners. We have had many providers have to leave this business and go back to work in order to get benefits and such.
  • One licensed family child provider summed up her view of the state of affairs in her profession:
    • Actually I feel a little of both. Better as far as the TEACH program goes. We still need some form of health insurance, sometimes my husband loses his insurance and then we are without insurance for a period of time. Also, a retirement or pension would be nice to have. In the past some major corporations would fund classes for us to take (such as the core programs). These classes were outstanding! I learned a great deal, I enjoyed taking them, and the socialization with the other providers was good. I would love to see these types of classes again. Although some new programs have arisen, like TEACH and Great START, salaries are still very low once all expenses all subtracted. It is tempting to think about quitting at times, especially since I have a bachelor's degree and could get a "real job" as many people have asked me in the past. Unfortunately many people do not think family home childcare is a "real" job. I think it is, and I do love it, so am not contemplating quitting, but I do wish there was a way to earn a higher income. I do not believe that has changed much in the past few years and may never, which is sad, because I honestly believe being a daycare provider is one of the most important jobs someone can have. Thankfully, the benefits of those little smiles and laughs make it worth it on days when the dollars don't!

Conclusion

Because a number of studies demonstrate the relationship between the child and the provider as the most important component of high quality care settings, young children have much to gain from a well-educated and stable child care workforce. However, a well-documented high turnover rate among child care providers nationally does not bode well for our children. Usually linked to low provider wages and benefits, the turnover rate among providers nationally has been reported at anywhere from 30% to 50% over the last decade.

The child care workforce in Illinois is, for the most part, a formally educated workforce. The majority of providers in centers and homes had some form of college education. One out of three child care center teachers had completed a college degree in early childhood education or child development, and one out of five family child care home providers had completed a college degree in early childhood education or child development.

Reflective of the national trend, the child care workforce in Illinois is not a stable workforce. Over the past two years, the turnover rate for child care center teachers was 28% and the turnover rate for child care center teacher assistants was even higher at 41%. Directors cited a number of reasons for turnover - dissatisfaction with pay, finding a new job in child care, finding a new job outside child care or education, being terminated or fired, personal reasons - and indicated that all were equally important. However, none of the reasons presented was rated as a major reason for staff departure. Furthermore, it must be pointed out that the center director or other administrative staff member, not the departing staff member, responded to the question.

Almost half of family child care providers indicated that they had thought about leaving child care at some point in the previous year. Half of the sample of family child care providers did not know how much longer they would continue to provide care and of those who did, half of those reported that they plan to provide care for no longer than six years. When asked what might keep them providing care longer, family child care providers cited higher wages and better benefits, the two most popular reasons why they considered leaving the field.

Statewide, compensation for child care practitioners remains low and continues to drop as wages fail to keep up with inflation. The median hourly wage for a full-time child care teacher was $12.00 per hour. Assuming a work week of 40 hours and 52 weeks per year, this is approximately equal to a gross annual salary of $24,960 per year. The median net earnings of licensed family child care workers were less than half that figure - $12,000 per year.

Wages vary considerably, however. For example, in part of southern Illinois (SDA 16) the median hourly wage of a full-time child care teacher is $8.50 per hour. On the other hand, the median wage of a full-time child care teacher in parts of northern Illinois (SDA 3 - Lake County) is $14.00 per hour.

Wages vary with program-based factors. Teachers in not-for profit programs earned more than those in for-profit programs. Full-time teachers in full-year programs earned less than those in part-year programs.

Wages vary with several important teacher quality factors. Teachers in full-year programs with more education earned more than those without degrees. Wages varied based on content of college coursework. For example, teachers with Associates degrees in early childhood education or child development degrees earned higher wages than those without this coursework.

In contrast to teachers in child care centers, their was no relationship between education and earnings among providers of family child care: more education did not translate into higher net earnings.

Overall, benefits for the child care workforce are also low. While the majority of center employees received paid sick leave, vacation leave, and paid holiday, less than 40 percent received assistance with health insurance. Even fewer received paid dental insurance, life insurance, and retirement.

Family child care providers reported fewer benefits. Just over half were paid when closed for holidays. Less than one out of five were paid for vacation or sick days. While the majority of family child care providers had health insurance, most were covered through their spouse's employer; about one fifth purchased their own health insurance.

Both center directors and family child care providers reported their frustration with low wages and lack of benefits as continued examples of the lack of professional respect the child care workforce faces. These factors were cited frequently as the reasons contributing to workforce turnover.

Both survey responses and comments by child care center personnel and family child care providers expressed ambivalence toward the profession. While most all indicated a decided love and dedication to children and their development, both the bureaucracy of the state agencies that govern the provision of child care and the limited and not optimistic future possibilities of being able to provide child care were of great concern. Finally, a number of family child care providers expressed a sense of competition with child care centers.

Nevertheless, the salary variations based on individual and program factors, along with declining individual turnover rates for center employees, suggest that a small number of programs may be able to offer some supports to offset lower wages and benefits and that help retain their staff. For example, more than half of directors reported that they have staff professional development plans in place for their center. Almost half reported that they have individual staff professional development plans for their staff. Finally, almost all directors reported that they offer in-service training opportunities for their staff. Furthermore, dissatisfaction with professional development opportunities was the lowest rated reason for staff turnover. (Similarly, access to training was not among the more highly endorsed reasons for family child care providers to continue to offer care).

In addition, two statewide programs aimed at increasing provider education levels and reducing turnover were cited by both center directors and family child care providers as important workforce supports. The T.E.A.C.H. program provides college scholarships, travel, and release time for both center and family child care providers. The Great START wage supplement program provides stipends every six months to center staff and family child care providers based on their education as long as they stay in their same position. In this study, almost one-fifth of all child care center staff were reported as participating in the Great START program, with about 60% being early childhood teachers. About one out of every thirteen child care center staff reported participating in T.E.A.C.H, with again, about 60% of those being early childhood teachers. Among family child care providers, approximately 4 out of 5 providers were aware of both the T.E.A.C.H. and Great START programs.

Appendix A: Survey Instruments

If you would like a copy of the instrument used to conduct the survey, email Megan Fitzgerald at Megan.Fitzgerald@illinois.gov.

Appendix B: Child Care Resource and Referral System Map

(SDA=Service Delivery Area)

SDA  Counties Served
I - Rockford Boone, JoDaviess, Stephenson, Winnebago
II - DeKalb McHenry
III - Waukegan Lake
IV - Glen Ellyn DuPage, Kane
V - Joliet Grundy, Kankakee, Kendall, Will
VI - Cook Cook
VII - Davenport Henderson, Henry, McDonough, Mercer, Knox, Rock Island, Warren
VIII - East Peoria Bureau, Fulton, LaSalle, Peoria, Marshall, Putnam, Stark, Tazewell, Woodford
IX - Bloomington DeWitt, Ford, Livingston, McLean
X - Urbana Champaign, Douglas, Iroquois, Macon, Piatt, Vermilion
XI - Charleston Coles Clark, Cumberland, Edgar, Moultrie, Shelby
XII - Quincy Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Greene, Hancock, Jersey, Pike, Schuyler
XIII - Springfield Christian, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Sangamon, Scott
XIV - Granite City Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington
XV - Mt. Vernon Clay, Crawford, Edwards, Jasper, Effingham, Fayette, Jefferson, Lawrence, Marion, Richland, Wabash, Warren
XVI - Carterville Alexander, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, White, Williamson

Appendix C: Licensing Standards for Center Staffing

Section 407.130 Qualifications for Child Care Director

  1. Day care centers licensed for more than 50 children shall employ a full-time child care director to be on site in a non-teaching capacity. The director may be on site in a teaching capacity at the following times:
    1. During the first hour and last hour of a program that operates ten or more hours per day; or
    2. When attendance falls below 50 children.
  2. Day care centers licensed for 50 or fewer children, or half-day programs with children attending no more than three consecutive hours per day regardless of capacity, may employ a child care director who also serves as a member of the child care staff.
    1. When the director serves in both capacities, he or she must meet the qualifications of both the director position and the teaching position.
    2. When the director attends to non-teaching responsibilities, his or her group must be supervised by a person qualified to be in charge of the group.
  3. The child care director shall be at least 21 years of age.
  4. The child care director shall have a high school diploma or equivalency certificate (GED).
  5. In addition to meeting the requirements of Section 407.100, the child care director of a facility serving the same number of groups of pre-school and school-age children or more groups of pre-school children than groups of school-age children shall have achieved:
    1. Sixty semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of credit from an accredited college or university with 18 semester or 27 quarter hours in courses related directly to child care and/or child development from birth to age six; or
    2. Two years (3120 clock hours) of child development experience in a nursery school, kindergarten, or licensed day care center, 30 semester hours (or 45 quarter hours) of college credits with ten semester or15 quarter hours in courses related directly to child care and/or child development, and proof of enrollment in an accredited college or university until two years of college credit have been achieved. A total of 18 semester hours (or 27 quarter hours) in courses related directly to child care and/or child development is required to be obtained within the total two years of college credits; or
    3. Completion of a credentialing program approved in accordance with Appendix G of this Part, completion of 12 semester (or 18 quarter hours) in courses related to child care and/or child development from birth to age six at an accredited college or university, and two years (3120 clock hours) child development experience in a nursery school, kindergarten or licensed day care center.
  6. In addition to meeting the requirements of Section 407.100, the child care director of a facility serving more groups of school-age children than groups of pre school children shall have achieved:
    1. Sixty semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of credit from an accredited college or university with 18 semester or (27 quarter hours) in courses related to child care and/or child development, elementary education, physical education, recreation, camping or other related fields, including courses related to school age children; or
    2. Two years (3120 clock hours) of child development experience in a recreational program, kindergarten, or licensed day care center serving school age children or license exempt school-age child care program operated by a public or private school, 30 semester hours (or 45 quarter hours) of college credits with ten semester (or 15 quarter hours) in courses related directly to child care and/or child development, elementary education, physical education, recreation, camping or other related fields, and proof of enrollment in an accredited college or university until two years of college credit have been achieved. A total of 18 semester hours (or 27 quarter hours) in courses related directly to child care and/or child development, elementary education, physical education, recreation, camping, or other related fields, including courses related to school age children, is required to be obtained within the total two years of college credits.
  7. Completion of a training program accredited by the American Montessori Society or Association Montessori International may be substituted for the courses directly related to child care and/or child development required by this Section. Persons holding a Montessori pre-primary credential may serve as director to children through age six. Persons holding a Montessori primary or elementary credential may serve as director to children six years of age or older.
  8. Persons who were deemed qualified to serve as a child care director prior to January 1, 1985, continue to be deemed qualified for their position.
  9. When a program serves only school-age children and meets the criteria of Section 407.90(c), qualifications for the school-age director responsible for multiple sites and the site coordinators shall be as follows:
    1. The school-age director and each site coordinator shall be at least 21 years of age.
    2. The school-age director shall meet both of the following requirements for education and experience:
      1. Sixty semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of credit from an accredited college or university, with 18 semester hours (or 27 quarter hours) in courses related to school-age child care, child development, elementary education, physical education, recreation, camping or other related fields; and
      2. At least 1560 clock hours of child development experience in a recreational program or a licensed day care center serving school-age children.
    3. The school-age site coordinators must meet one of the following qualifications:
      1. Thirty semester hours (or 45 quarter hours) of credit from an accredited college or university with 12 semester hours (or 18 quarter hours) related to school-age child care, child development, elementary education, physical education, recreation, camping or other related fields and 750 clock hours of experience in a recreational program or a licensed day care center serving school-age children or in a license exempt school-age child care program operated by a public or private school; or
      2. 1560 clock hours of experience in a recreational program or licensed day care center serving school-age children or license exempt school-age child care program operated by a public or private school and either six semester hours or nine quarter hours of credit from an accredited college or university related to school-age child care, child development, elementary education, physical education, recreation, camping or other related fields.
  10. A staff member who meets the qualifications for a day care center director shall be designated to assume decision-making responsibility whenever the child care director is off site. A record of employees who meet the qualifications for director and who have been designated to assume decision-making responsibility in the director's absence shall be kept at the site. The person designated as alternate director may be in the classroom and counted in the staff/child ratio under the following circumstances:
    1. When the center meets the criteria of Section 407.130(b) above; or
    2. During the first hour and last hour of a program that operates ten or more hours per day; or
    3. When attendance falls below 50 children.
  • (Source: Added at 22 Ill. Reg. 1728, effective January 1, 1998)

Section 407.140 Qualifications for Early Childhood Teachers and School-age Workers

  1. Early childhood teachers and school-age workers shall be at least 19 years of age.
  2. Early childhood teachers and school-age workers shall have a high school diploma or equivalency certificate (GED).
  3. In addition to meeting the requirements of Section 407.100, the early childhood teacher responsible for a group of children that includes infants, toddler or preschool-age children shall have achieved:
    1. Sixty semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of credits from an accredited college or university with six semester or nine quarter hours in courses related directly to child care and/or child development, from birth to age six; or
    2. One year (1560 clock hours) of child development experience in a nursery school, kindergarten, or licensed day care center and thirty semester hours (or 45 quarter hours) of credits from an accredited college or university with six semester or nine quarter hours in courses related directly to child care and/or child development, from birth to age six; or
    3. Completion of credentialing programs approved by the Department in accordance with Appendix G of this Part.
  4. School-age workers shall be at least 19 years of age and at least five years older than the oldest child with whom they work.
  5. In addition to meeting the requirements of Section 407.100, the newly employed school-age worker responsible for a group of school-age children shall have achieved:
    1. Thirty semester hours (or 45 quarter hours) of credit from an accredited college or university with six semester hours (or 9 quarter hours) related to school-age child care, child development, elementary education, physical education, recreation, camping or other related fields; or
    2. 1560 clock hours of experience in a recreational program or licensed day care center serving school-age children or a license exempt school-age child care program operated by a public or private school, and six semester hours (or nine quarter hours) of credit from an accredited college or university related to school-age child care, child development, elementary education, physical education, recreation, camping or other related fields; or
    3. A high school diploma or equivalency certificate plus 3120 clock hours of experience in a recreational program, kindergarten, or licensed day care center serving school-age children or a license exempt school-age child care program operated by a public or private school.
  6. Completion of a training program accredited by the American Montessori Society or Association Montessori International may be substituted for the courses directly related to child care and/or child development required by this Section. Persons holding a Montessori pre-primary credential may supervise children through age six. Persons holding a Montessori primary or elementary credential may supervise children six years of age or older.
  7. Persons who were deemed qualified as a child care worker or school-age worker prior to January 1, 1985, continue to be deemed qualified as an early childhood teacher or school-age worker.
  8. Early childhood teachers and school-age workers shall be responsible for the planning and supervision of a group of children. Early childhood workers and school-age workers shall also be responsible for supervising persons assigned to assist their group who are not similarly qualified.
  • (Source: Added at 22 Ill. Reg. 1728, effective January 1, 1998)

Section 407.150 Qualifications for Early Childhood Assistants and School-age Assistants

  1. Early childhood assistants shall meet the requirements of Section 407.100, with the exception of subsection (b).
  2. Early childhood and school-age assistants shall have a high school diploma or equivalency certificate (GED).
  3. Early childhood assistants shall work under the direct supervision of an early childhood teacher or school-age worker and shall not assume full responsibility for a group of children, except as allowed by Section 407.190(e)(2).
  4. School-age assistants shall work under the direct supervision of a school-age worker and shall not assume full responsibility for a group of children, except as allowed by Section 407.190(e)(2).
  • (Source: Added at 22 Ill. Reg. 1728, effective January 1, 1998)
  • Source: Title 89: Social Services, Chapter III: Department Of Children And Family Services, Subchapter E: Requirements For Licensure, Part 407, Licensing Standards For Day Care Centers, Subpart D: Staffing

Appendix D: Acknowledgements

I would like to thank all the child care providers who generously gave their time responding to this survey.

I gratefully appreciate the support of the Illinois Department of Human Services and its Bureau of Child Care and Development for this important opportunity to work in partnership studying the Illinois child care workforce. In particular I want to thank Holly Knicker and Megan Fitzgerald for meticulously proofreading earlier drafts of this report and making the editorial comments that have significantly improved this document.

The Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, especially Joellyn Whitehead and Theresa Amand, provided the contact information for all licensed child care programs listed with the regional child care resource and referrals agencies and provided the construction and hosting of the web survey. Thank you.

I would like to acknowledge the work of the Laboratory for Community and Economic Development in the Department of Human and Community Development who were responsible for the data entry, particularly Ami Patel who managed and performed much of the data cleaning and entry.

I would like to thank the group of child care professionals who helped review the survey instruments, particularly those who piloted the web survey and suggested improvements.

Finally, I would like to thank my predecessors, Dawn Ramsburg, Dale Montanelli, and Emily Rouge for providing me with the exemplary template from which to work.

Philip Garnier

Urbana, IL