Illinois Salary and Staffing Survey of Licensed Child Care Facilities FY2013

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

For: Illinois Department of Human Services

Prepared By: 

Christine Bruckner and Joellyn Whitehead, Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies

Johnna Darragh Ernst and Deborah Presley, Heartland Community College

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Child Care Centers - Highlights and Key Findings
  3. Family Child Care Homes - Highlights and Key Findings
  4. Introduction
  5. Methods
    1. Survey Development
    2. Respondents
    3. Administration of Surveys
    4. Survey Data
  6. Profile of Child Care Centers: Key Findings
    1. Respondent Role
      1. Types of Centers
      2. Accreditation & Illinois Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) Status
    2. Center Program Revenue
    3. Capacity and Enrollment Patterns
    4. Ethnicity of Children in Programs
    5. Staffing Patterns
      1. Male Staff
      2. Non-English Fluency of Staff
    6. Professional Development
      1. Illinois State Professional Development Programs
      2. Professional Development Plan
      3. Illinois Director Credential
    7. Peer Support
    8. Staff Turnover
      1. Turnover Rates
      2. Turnover Reasons
      3. Applicants for Vacant Positions
      4. Hires for Vacant Positions
        1. Male Applicants
        2. Non-English Fluency of Applicants
      5. Attraction to Child Care Careers and Employment
    9. Center Turnover
    10. Staff Demographics
      1. Education and Credentials
      2. Years of Experience
    11. Salary and Wages
      1. Salary Scale
      2. Hourly Wage by Position
      3. Comparison of Hourly Wages from FY 2007-FY 2011
      4. Hourly Wage by Full- Versus Part-Time Status
      5. Staff Experience and Education
      6. Center Characteristics and Hourly Wage
    12. Benefits
  7. Profile of Family Child Care Home Providers: Key Findings
    1. Completed Surveys
    2. Demographics
      1. Gender
      2. Age
      3. Ethnicity
      4. Experience
      5. Education
    3. Accreditation and Illinois Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) Status
    4. Demographics of Children Served
    5. Professional Development
      1. Program Awareness and Participation
      2. Training and Training Opportunities
    6. Capacity and Enrollment
    7. Assistants
    8. Business Characteristics
      1. Hours
      2. Earnings and Operating Expenses
      3. Other Income Sources
      4. Fee Policies
      5. Financial Assistance
      6. Benefits
    9. Professional Support
    10. Turnover
    11. Motivations and Perceptions about Providing Child Care
  8. Conclusion
  9. Appendices

Executive Summary

High quality child care improves children's experiences and developmental outcomes and also contributes to a prepared, productive and stable current and future workforce. Practitioners who work in child care settings are responsible for the quality of care and early education provided to children and their families.

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is mandated by legislative rule 20 ILCS 505/5.151, to conduct a survey of the workforce in licensed child care facilities every two years. The survey summarized in this report meets that mandate by documenting the following: (1) the number of qualified caregivers attracted to vacant positions and any problems encountered by facilities in attracting and retaining capable caregivers, (2) the qualifications of new caregivers hired at licensed child care facilities during the previous two-year period, and (3) the average wages and salaries and fringe benefits paid to caregivers throughout the State computed on a regional basis.

Collection of survey data began with the list of 12,790 licensed child care programs in Illinois (3,174 licensed child care centers and 9,615 licensed day care homes) obtained through the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA). On April 22nd, 2013, all providers were sent a request to participate in the survey. The survey was available in two formats: on-line and a paper document. Out of the 12,790 licensed programs, 821 center programs (response rate = 25.9 percent) and 1,605 family child care home providers (response rate = 16.7 percent) completed the survey.

The findings of this 2013 survey profile the qualifications, salary and benefits, and turnover rates from the sample of licensed child care programs operating in Illinois as of December 31, 2012.

1The entire bill is located on the Illinois General Assembly website: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=242&ChapterID=5

Child Care Centers - Highlights and Key Findings

Capacity and Staffing

  • The average licensed capacity of centers was reported as 94 children.
  • The 821 responding directors reported a total of 9,624 employees in their programs, including:
    • 1,295 administrative directors and director/teachers,
    • 7,106 classroom teaching staff,
    • 550 food service staff,
    • 290 building support staff,
    • 284 administrative support staff,
    • 435 other types of staff.

Accreditation

  • Out of responding centers, 17.7 percent (n = 145) were accredited by a national accrediting organization:
    • 113 (13.8 percent) were accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC);
    • 23 (2.8 percent) were accredited by the National Association of Child Care Professionals (NACCP).
    • 8 (1.0 percent) were accredited by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA); and,
    • 1 (0.1 percent) were accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).

Illinois Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS)

  • 25.0 percent (n = 205) of responding centers were QRS rated:
    • 12 (1.5 percent) of programs had earned a Star Level 1.
    • 82 (10.0 percent) of programs had earned a Star Level 2.
    • 105 (12.8 percent) of programs had earned a Star Level 3.
    • 6 (0.7 percent) of programs had earned a Star Level 4.

Education Level of Staff

  • Out of 1,584 early childhood teachers,
    • 92.4 percent were reported to have some form of college education,
    • 74.4 percent had completed a college degree (Associate or higher),
    • 46.4 percent had completed their degrees in early childhood education or child development, and
    • 7.3 percent had completed a Child Development Associate (CDA) or Child Care Professional (CCP) credential.
  • 25.4 percent 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 $18.55 per hour, which is approximately equal to $38,584 per year.2
  • The median hourly wage for a full-time early childhood teacher in a full-year program was $11.04 per hour, which is approximately equal to $22,963 per year.
  • The median hourly wage for a full-time early childhood assistant teacher in a full-year program was $9.25 per hour, which is approximately equal to $19,240 per year.

2 Assumes 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year.

Benefits

  • Most centers did not provide insurance to most of their staff:
    • 34.6 percent of centers provided health insurance for their staff.
    • 23.0 percent of centers provided dental insurance.
    • 25.6 percent of centers provided life insurance.
    • 28.9 percent of centers provided retirement/pension coverage for their employees.
  • Most centers did provide time off benefits:
    • 79.3 percent of centers provided paid vacation leave to personnel.
    • 80.7 percent of centers provided paid holiday leave for staff.
    • 69.0 percent of centers provided paid sick leave for employees.

Turnover

  • The turnover rate for early childhood teachers over the last two years increased from 24.6 percent in 2011 to 26.0 percent in 2013.
  • The turnover rate for early childhood assistant teachers over the last two years decreased from 36.2 percent in 2011 to 33.1 percent in 2013.
  • Early childhood teachers were reported as having, on average, 10.1 years in child care.
  • Dissatisfaction with pay and benefits were reported as top reasons for early childhood teachers to leave their jobs willingly.
  • Dissatisfaction with professional development opportunities and retirement were the least important reason reported for leaving.
  • Directors reported that it took 3-4 weeks to fill early childhood teacher vacancies, longer than it took to fill instructional staff vacancies for other IDCFS positions (e.g., assistant teacher, school-age worker or assistant), but shorter than it took to fill administrative director positions.

Family Child Care Homes - Highlights and Key Findings

Capacity and Enrollment

  • The average license capacity reported for family child care was 9.4 children, with providers reporting that they care for an average of 7.6 children in a typical week.

Accreditation

  • 4.2 percent (n = 68 out of 1,605) of family child care providers were accredited through the National Association of Family Child Care (NAFCC).

Illinois Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS)

  • 5.9 percent (n = 94 out of 1,605) of responding family providers participated in QRS.
    • 0.2 percent (n = 4) earned a Star Level 1
    • 0.8 percent (n = 13) earned a Star Level 2
    • 4.7 percent (n = 42) earned a Star Level 3.
    • 0.1 percent (n = 2) earned a Star Level 4.

Education Level

  • 68.6 percent had some form of college education.
  • 37.9 percent had an Associate degree or higher.
  • 16.8 percent had an Associate degree or higher in either early childhood education or child development.
  • 3.0 percent 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 $13,995 per year:
    • 25 percent of family child care providers make less than $7,000.
    • 50 percent of family child care providers make less than $12,000.
    • 75 percent of family child care providers make less than $20,000.
  • 61.6 percent of family child care providers required payment when closed for holidays, 36.1 percent required payment when closed for vacation, 22.9 percent when closed for sickness, and 12.8 percent when closed for training.
  • 80.4 percent of family child care providers were covered by some form of health insurance. 45.5 percent of those were covered either fully or partially by their spouse's employer, 22.4 percent purchased their own health insurance, and 14.7 percent were Medicaid/Medicare eligible. 15.6 percent procured insurance through other avenues.
  • 51.0 percent of family child care providers contributed to Social Security and 22.1 percent set aside money for retirement.
  • One quarter 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 13.4 years of experience taking care of children in their homes.
  • Approximately 30.6 percent of licensed family child care providers reported that they had been previously employed in a child care center or public school.
  • 36.0 percent of family child care providers considered quitting providing care in the preceding year. Dissatisfaction with benefits was the primary reason endorsed.
  • 34.0 percent of family child care providers plan to leave child care within 10 years.

Working Hours

  • On average, family child care providers were paid to care for children 53.1 hours per week.
  • On average, family child providers spent an additional 16.4 hours per week on aspects related to their child care business (preparing food, shopping, cleaning, record keeping and lesson planning).

Motivation for Providing Care

  • Family child care practitioners endorsed "enjoy teaching children" and "like to be in business for self" as their two primary motivating factors for providing child care.

Introduction

Legislative rule 20 ILCS 505/5.15 mandates a statewide survey of the workforce of licensed child care facilities be conducted every two years by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). This survey evaluates:

  • the number of qualified caregivers attracted to vacant positions and any problems encountered by facilities in attracting and retaining capable caregivers;
  • the qualifications of new caregivers hired at licensed day care facilities during the previous two-year period; and
  • the average wages and salaries and fringe benefits paid to caregivers throughout the State computed on a regional basis.

Other areas assessed by the survey include information pertaining to fiscal management, enrollment patterns, staffing patterns, staff turnover rates, and professional development.

The Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA), on behalf of IDHS, contracted with researchers from the Health and Human Services Division at Heartland Community College to conduct the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY 2013) survey.

Methods

Survey Development

One version of the Salary and Staffing Survey was constructed for licensed child care centers, and a separate version was used for licensed family child care providers. To allow for the comparison of 2013 survey results with those from past survey years, questions from past surveys were retained with some minor changes in formatting and wording.

Respondents could opt to take the survey either on-line, via the internet, or as a mailed paper document. Formatting and instructions differed slightly between the two forms of administration; survey content remained the same.

To create the on-line version of each survey, the paper versions were directly transcribed on-line, using the web-based software Fluid surveys® Survey Software (http://fluidsurveys.com/). Respondents could access the surveys through a link on the INCCRRA website. The Salary and Staffing Survey web page contained links for both the licensed child care center and licensed family child care home surveys. It also included information on how to access both the online and paper versions of the survey, "Frequently Asked Questions" about the survey, and a link to "Previous Survey Highlights." To maintain confidentiality, respondents were assigned a user code (a randomly generated ten-character code). This code was required to log-in to the server and take the survey. With their unique code information, respondents could enter and exit the survey at their convenience, take the survey at their own pace, and make changes to responses prior to submission.

Respondents could request a paper copy of either the licensed child care center survey or the licensed family child care home survey by emailing or calling INCCRRA. Along with the requested survey, respondents would receive a self-addressed stamped envelope in which to return the survey. Appendix A contains the paper versions of both the licensed child care center and licensed family child care home surveys.

Respondents

There are sixteen Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies in Illinois (see Appendix B) which together serve all 102 counties in Illinois. Each CCR&R is assigned one or more counties to cover (referred to as their Service Delivery Area or SDA). All CCR&R agencies are members of INCCRRA, which provides coordination and supports for the Illinois CCR&R system. CCR&Rs support licensed child care facilities in their assigned areas. Child care facilities in Illinois are licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS).

Local CCR&Rs list these IDCFS licensed child care facilities on a provider database called NACCRRAware. INCCRRA maintains this database for Illinois. All 12,790 facilities in Illinois (3,174 licensed child care centers and 9,615 licensed family child care homes listed in the database as providing care as of December 31, 2012) were invited to participate in the survey.

Administration of Surveys

On April 22nd, 2013, an email blast was sent to 8,102 providers whom had emails listed in the database (5,935 family child care providers, 2,167 centers) inviting them to participate in the Salary and Staffing Survey. On April 26th, 2013, a letter was mailed to all centers (n = 3,174) in care of the center director and all family home providers (n = 9,615), including those who had already been sent an email. Both notifications delineated the purpose of the study and invited the providers to participate in it, either by completing the survey online or via a mailed paper questionnaire.3

On May 20th, 2013, reminder postcards were sent to 11,911 providers (8,915 family child care home providers, 2,996 centers). These postcards thanked providers who had completed the survey, reminded providers of the survey's availability both online and as a paper document, and provided the contact information necessary for providers to obtain the paper copy of the survey if so desired. On June 5th, 2013, a reminder email was sent to 734 providers who had started the survey online, but had not completed (287 family child care homes, 447 centers), and a reminder letter was sent to 178 providers who had requested a paper survey to be mailed to them, but had not yet completed and returned (133 family child care homes, 45 centers). On June 24th, 2013, a final reminder postcard was sent to all participants (n = 10,578) who had not finished the online survey. Analyses were based on all completed surveys returned by July 15th, 2013.

A total of 9,615 IDCFS licensed family child care home and group home providers and 3,174 centers were invited to complete the Salary and Staffing Survey. Out of these, 1,605 family child care/group home providers (1,424 online; 181 paper) and 821 center directors (758 online and 63 paper) completed and returned the survey. The response rates for each type of program were 16.7 percent and 25.9 percent respectively.

3Copies of both surveys are included in Appendix A.

Survey Data

A discrepancy in the number of responses to each question exists because not all respondents completed each question. The number of raw responses to a question is denoted by the symbol (n or n =).

Survey Data Statistical Notes

[STATISTICAL NOTES - Using this data set as an example: 1 2 2 2 3 3 4 5 6 6 7 8 99

n (lowercase)- the number responding to a single question (in this dataset n = 13) whereas N (uppercase) is the number of respondents in total for the survey. Respondents sometimes skip a question or it is inapplicable so the n for each question or analyses is noted.

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 number in a data set but can be easily affected by extreme values. In the example data set above, the mean is calculated as: (1+2+2+2+3+3+4+5+6+6+7+8+99) ÷ 13= 11.23. If the extreme value, 99, was to change to 9, the mean would change dramatically, 1+2+2+2+3+3+4+5+6+6+7+8+9) ÷ 13= 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 above 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 above is 2.

RANGE - the range is the difference between the highest and lowest score. In the sample data set the range is (1-99).]

Profile of Child Care Centers: Key Findings

The term "child care center" encompasses an assortment of programs that have their own legal and regulatory status as well as funding sources. Types of programs include full-day/full-year center-based child care programs, preschool programs, nursery schools, state-funded Preschool for All pre-kindergarten programs, Head Start/Early Head Start programs, and school-age care programs. Staff qualifications and training requirements vary with the type of program.

Legal status indicates for-profit or not-for-profit; regulatory status refers to licensed or license-exempt. Source of capital includes public and/or private funding sources. Public funding sources include, but are not limited to: Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) vouchers, certificates or site contracts, the Department of Family Support Services [formally Chicago Children and Youth Services (CYS)] site contracts, Illinois Department of Children and Family Service (IDCFS) vouchers or certificates, Head Start, State Board of Education (ISBE)/Preschool for All (PFA), Child and Adult Child Care Food Program, and municipal, state or federal grants. Examples of private funding sources include tuition-based (parent fees), private donations, grants from foundations or agencies such as the United Way, corporate or employer subsidies and fundraisers.

Some centers are independent and stand-alone enterprises - either for-profit or non-profit; some are part of a corporation or chain (or are corporate-sponsored), and some are affiliated with a social service agency, hospital, or college or university. Others are sponsored through funds from the federal, state, or local government or are affiliated with the public school system. Some are single-site programs and others are multi-site programs.

All of these types of centers represent variation in child care delivery that is considered in the survey analyses.

From the 3,175 invitations sent to child care centers, 758 online surveys were completed and an additional 63 paper surveys were completed. Thus, 821 center surveys were completed out of 3,174 delivered invitations, for a response rate of 25.9 percent. Table 1 presents the response rates by CCR&R service delivery area (SDA) (see Appendix B).

Table 1. Survey return rates by service delivery area: Licensed Child Care Centers

Service Delivery Area CCR&R Office Location Centers Surveys Completed Percentage of Surveys Completed
SDA 1 Rockford 62 26 41.90%
SDA 2 DeKalb 147 52 35.40%
SDA 3 Gurnee 179 41 22.90%
SDA 4 Glendale Heights 323 84 26.00%
SDA 5 Joliet 215 58 27.00%
SDA 6 Chicago 1,361 248 18.20%
SDA 7 Davenport 84 32 38.10%
SDA 8 Peoria 140 45 32.10%
SDA 9 Bloomington 66 28 42.40%
SDA 10 Urbana 95 35 36.80%
SDA 11 Charleston 33 14 42.40%
SDA 12 Quincy 31 9 29.00%
SDA 13 Springfield 95 30 31.60%
SDA 14 Granite City 199 66 33.20%
SDA 15 Mt Vernon 64 17 26.60%
SDA 16 Carterville 80 36 45.00%
Totals 3,174 821 25.90%

Respondent Role

Respondents were asked to provide basic information about their programs. Out of 821 centers responding to the survey, 55 (6.7 percent) were completed by owners, 147 (17.9 percent) by owner/directors, 472 (57.6 percent) by administrative directors (including CEO and executive director), 103 (12.6 percent) by director/teachers, 24 (2.9 percent) by support staff, and 19 (2.3 percent) by other personnel including program coordinators, principals, and teachers. Since the majority of respondents to the licensed child care center survey were directors in some form (85.1 percent), all respondents will henceforth be referred to as "directors".

Types of Centers

Directors were queried about their programs, specifically: (1) hours of operation/program type;

(2) whether it is sponsored by a faith-based organization; and (3) whether it exists as a single or multi-site program. Data from the NACCRRAware database provided information as to whether the center was an accredited program and whether it has been awarded a Star Level in the Quality Counts Quality Rating System.

Directors were asked to identify their center's schedule of operation based on hours open and center type. The 821 surveys yielded the following results:

  • 51.0 percent (n = 419) of centers were defined as full-day/full-year only (open at least eight hours per day for a minimum of 49 weeks per year);
  • 20.6 percent (n = 169) were full-day/full-year programs with a separate part-day option;
  • 15.5 percent (n = 127) were part-day only (nursery school, preschool, Head Start);
  • 1.3 percent (n = 11) were defined as part-day only before- and/or after-school programs;
  • 2.6 percent (n = 21) were full-day, school year (less than 49 weeks) programs; and,
  • 9.0 percent (n = 74) programs did not identify their type of center.

(Please note: unless otherwise specified, all further analyses will combine the data from both full-day and part-day programs.)

When asked whether their centers were sponsored by a faith-based organization, 568 directors (69.2 percent) responded "No", 178 (21.3 percent) answered "Yes", and 75 (9.1 percent) did not answer the item.

Directors were also asked whether their program was a single-site program or part of a multi-site program. Nearly three-quarters (72.7 percent, n = 597) indicated that their program was a single-site program; 18.4 percent (n = 151) were part of a multi-site program, and 8.9 percent (n = 73) did not report whether or not their center was single or multi-site.

Accreditation & Illinois Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) Status

Accreditation demonstrates a Center's commitment to high quality in early care and education by meeting voluntary guidelines and standards established by national accrediting organizations. The Illinois Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) "recognizes a provider for meeting specific indicators of quality"4 above state licensing standards which both impact and enrich a child's care and learning experience. Providers who care for children eligible for the IDHS Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) also receive a quality bonus above the standard payment rate if they achieve Quality Rating System certification. Using information from the INCCRRA database, variables were created to indicate the accreditation and QRS rating status of Center programs participating in the salary and staffing survey. 

Of all 821 programs responding to the FY 2013 survey, 17.7 percent (n = 145) were accredited:

  • 13.8 percent (n = 113) of programs were accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC);
  • 2.8 percent (n = 23) were accredited by the National Accreditation Commission (NAC) under the auspices of the National Association of Child Care Professionals (NACCP);
  • 1.0 percent (n = 8) of programs were accredited through NECPA (National Early Childhood Program Accreditation); and,
  • .01 percent (n = 1) were accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).5

In FY 2013, 25.0 percent (n = 205) of programs responding to the Salary and Staffing Survey were QRS certified. Of those programs, 1.5 percent (n = 12) of programs earned a Star Level 1, 10.0 percent (n = 82) of programs earned a Star Level 2, 12.8 percent (n = 105) of programs earned a Star Level 3, and 0.7 percent (n = 6) of programs earned a Star Level 4.6

Please note that centers can be simultaneously QRS certified and nationally accredited. Of the number reported above, 44.9 percent (n = 92) of QRS accredited programs were also nationally accredited.

4 From the Quality Counts website, http://www.ilqualitycounts.com/quality-rating-system/overview

5 To further identify the prevalence of accredited centers in Illinois, in October 2013 national accrediting agencies were either contacted for accreditation data or the data was retrieved from organization websites: 361 (11.4 percent of all Illinois centers) are NAEYC accredited, 88 (2.8 percent of all Illinois centers) are NAC accredited, 40 (1.3 percent of all Illinois centers) are NECPA accredited, 7 (0.2 percent of all Illinois centers) are COA accredited, and 10 (0.3 percent) are NAA accredited. Overall, 15.9 percent of all center programs in Illinois have been accredited by national organizations and meet nationally recognized standards for high quality.

6 According to data from the Quality Counts website (http://www.ilqualitycounts.com/quality-rating-system/qrs-data) for the reporting period of 7/1/07 - 9/30/2013, 584 center programs in Illinois, have been awarded a Quality Counts Quality Rating System Star Level: 53 a Star Level 1, 213 a Star Level 2, 311 a Star Level 3, and 7 a Star Level 4. Collectively, the CCAP enrollment in the center programs was 29,474 (54.1 percent of their total combined enrollment of 54,468).

Center Program Revenue

To assess center program revenues, directors were asked to describe the legal status of their center, list center funding sources, estimate the contribution of each funding source to the center's overall budget, and provide totals on center revenue, operating budget, and net profit.

First, directors were asked to delineate the legal status of their program (profit or non-profit). The legal status of a program influences the types of revenue available to the program as well as a host of other factors that define or affect the program. Of the 821 centers who participated in the survey:

  • 346 (42.2 percent) reported their centers as for-profit enterprises:
    • 21.9 percent (n = 180) reported their center as a for-profit corporation or chain;
    • 18.8 percent (n = 154) reported their center as a for-profit private proprietary or partnership;
    • 1.5 percent (n = 12) reported their center as a for profit corporate sponsored;
  • 306 (37.3 percent) described their centers as a private non-profit:
    • 29.4 percent (n = 241) described their center as an independent private non-profit;
    • 7.9 percent (n = 65) described their center as a private non-profit affiliated with a social service agency or hospital;
  • 64 (7.8 percent) identified their centers as a public non-profit- sponsored by federal, state, or local government;
  • 27 (3.3 percent) identified their centers as college or university affiliated; and
  • 75 (9.1 percent) of center directors did not respond to this item.

Next, center directors were provided a list of funding sources and asked to indicate which ones their center currently received. Table 2 identifies each revenue source and the percentage and number of centers who reported receiving it. As Table 2 reveals, 84.5 percent of all centers stated a portion of their funding base was comprised of tuition-based/parent fees. Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) vouchers or certificates were the second most common source of funding (64.2 percent).

Table 2. Type of center program revenues (n = 748)

Type of Program Revenue Percentage1 n
Tuition-Based (Parent Fees) 84.50% 694
Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) vouchers or certificates 64.20% 527
Chicago Department of Family Support Services (DFSS) 4.50% 37
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) vouchers or certificates 40.90% 336
Head Start 8.80% 72
State Board of Education (ISBE)/Preschool for All (PFA) 13.80% 113
Child and Adult Care Food Program 39.10% 321
Private Donations, grants (e.g., foundations, United Way), or fundraising 29.40% 241
Corporate/employer subsidies 3.80% 31
Other (fundraisers, church sponsorship, grants…) 3.80% 31

Table should be read: "84.5 percent of licensed child care centers received tuition-based revenues."

1Percentages add up to greater than 100 percent as respondents were asked to endorse all items applicable to their programs.

Not only were directors asked to identify the various sources of funding which comprised their center's revenue base, but they were also asked to estimate the percentage that each funding source contributed to their general revenue. Since tuition and parent fees were reported to be the most common source of funding for centers (84.5 percent), it is not surprising that directors reported tuition and fees to comprised an average of 62.3 percent (n = 695, median = 75.0 percent) or slightly less than two-thirds of center revenue.

The average and median percentages for each additional funding source for the 695 centers who answered the question are provided below.

  • Head Start funds comprised 3.9 percent of the total revenue base (median = 0.0 percent).
  • Preschool for All funds made up 2.7 percent of the revenue base (median = 0.0 percent).
  • Public funding (state, federal, or local) comprised 26.5 percent of the overall revenue base (median = 10.0 percent).
  • Private donations and gifts were 2.8 percent of the funding base (median = 0.0 percent).
  • Corporate/employer subsidies were 0.5 percent of total revenue (median = 0.0 percent).

Directors were asked to approximate both the annual operating costs and annual income for their centers. A wide range of budgets emerged. Annual operating expenses averaged $412,921 (n = 495), with a median of $316,000. Annual revenues averaged $443,312 (n = 471) with a median of $358,000. To calculate net profit, annual expenses were subtracted from annual revenues. Again, a notable range in net-profit existed between the centers; however, the average profit per center was $26,642 (n = 460).7

As stated previously, the term child care center encompasses an array of programs and facilities such as public and private or for-profit and not-for-profit. To report a single figure for revenues or expenses that represents the fiscal experience of child care centers in Illinois obscures the varied nature of child care. Table 3 presents the operating costs, revenues, and profits of licensed Illinois child care centers by profit/nonprofit status and affiliation. The table documents that fiscal outcomes of child care centers are as varied as the centers themselves. Not surprisingly, as with the findings from 2011, corporate for-profit centers generally yield a profit, but public and private nonprofit centers make considerably less.

Table 3. Annual operating costs, revenues, and profits by profit/non-profit status: Licensed Child Care Centers

Revenues Operating Costs Profit
Legal Status of Center Mean n Mean n Mean n
For Profit: private proprietary or partnership $448,921 100 $385,198 100 $63,722 100
For Profit - corporation or chain $617,582 95 $543,361 95 $74,221 95
For Profit - corporate sponsored $349,508 6 $250,908 6 $98,601 6
Private nonprofit - independent $348,901 169 $347,629 169 $1,272 169
Private nonprofit - affiliated with a social service agency or hospital $368,051 38 $368,106 38 ($55) 38
Public nonprofit - sponsored by federal, state, or local government $556,762 29 $589,819 29 ($33,056) 29
College or university affiliated $333,111 22 $379,412 22 ($46,301) 22

While the 2011 survey was conducted during one of the most severe economic downturns in United States history, the 2013 survey was conducted during the recovery of this recession; however, recovery has been slow as unemployment rates continue to remain high throughout the state. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Illinois was at its peak (11.2 percent) in January 20108 and was still at 9.5 percent in July of 20119 (a little higher than the national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent); however, in 2012 and 2013, the unemployment rate in Illinois continued to waiver around the nine percent mark, reporting a 9.2 percent unemployment rate in August 2013 (compared to the national rate of 7.3 percent)10 . NACCRRAware data indicates that 12.6 percent of all child care centers that closed between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2013 did so for financial reasons. This is down from the 17.1 percent reported between June 30, 2009 and July 1, 2011 suggesting there has been a bit of an economic recovery for the child care industry over the past two years. Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies, child care advocates, local, state, and national media have all documented the impact of the unemployment rate on child care. As many providers commented, so many parents are out of work that the need for child care is diminishing.

As with the 2009 and 2011 survey, questions were asked to ascertain whether the general economy was perceived to have affected either the operating costs and/or revenues of centers. Directors were asked to rate these changes on a scale from 1 ("Decreased greatly") to 5 ("Increased greatly"). Directors rated the average change in operating costs as 3.6 (n = 641; median = 4.0) and the average change to revenue as 2.9 (n = 626; median = 3.0). At least half of all directors indicated that while revenues "stayed about the same", operating costs had "increased somewhat" in the last two years.

If centers charge private-paying parents more for child care than the child care subsidy program reimburses, the center can ask the parent to pay the difference between the rates (if not a contracted site provider). Less than half of the reporting centers (43.2 percent; n = 236 out of 546) enrolling subsidized children charge parents more than the amount reimbursed by the subsidy program.11

Directors were also asked to rate the ease of collecting the parent's share of subsidized child care (parent co-pay plus any difference between state reimbursement and center rate). On a scale of 1 ("Very easy") to 5 ("Very difficult"), responding centers (n = 539) reported an average rating of 3.4 (median = 4.0), indicating that the task was "Neither easy nor difficult." Directors were further asked whether collecting the parent share had gotten easier or more difficult in the past two years (again on a scale from 1 ("Much easier") to 5 ("Much more difficult"). The average rate reported was 3.4 with a median of 3.0, indicating that it had "stayed the same."

7 A number of responding centers were dropped from this and subsequent analyses, because some respondents reported on their whole agency instead of one specific center. Where this was the case, this respondent's financial report was divided by the number of centers listed. In the event that any of that information was not listed, the center was dropped from the analysis. In addition, a number of centers did not respond to questions about their finances and/or only provided revenues and not expenses or vice versa, not allowing for the calculation of profits.

8 "Regional and State Employment and Unemployment-January 2010", U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 10, 2010, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/laus_03102010.pdf

9 "Regional and State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) News Release", U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 19, 2011, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/laus_08192011.htm

10 "Regional and State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) News Release", U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 20, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/laus_09202013.htm

11 Lower "n" from FY 2011 due to survey administration error.

Capacity and Enrollment Patterns

Licensed capacity is defined as the maximum number of children permitted in the child care facility at any one time. The ages of children that can be enrolled in a licensed center varies between six weeks - 12 years of age and are stipulated on the center's IDCFS license. Of the 821 responding centers, the mean total licensed capacity was 85.6 children, with a median licensed capacity of 74.0. The average total capacity of reporting centers was somewhat higher than the average licensed capacity of all 3,174 active licensed centers (75.8 children).

When asked to recount their current total enrollment (how many children attended their program), directors (n = 586) reported an average current total enrollment of 94.2 children, with a median current total enrollment of 75.0. Please note that enrollments can exceed total licensed capacity as counts may be made across multiple shifts and/or include children who attend programs on a part-time basis.

Directors were asked whether they had children enrolled whose families receive Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), Chicago Department of Family Support Services (DFSS), and/or Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) financial assistance (subsidized child care). A preponderance (83.6 percent; n = 557) of centers have children enrolled whose families receive IDHS, CYS, and/or IDCFS assistance. These centers enrolled an average of 32.0 children (median enrollment of 21.0) whose child care was subsidized by the aforementioned types of assistance.

To calculate the percentage of subsidized children enrolled in a center, the number of subsidized children enrolled was divided by the center's current total enrollment (n = 421). On average, 42.8 percent (median = 36.5 percent, with a range of from 0 to 100 percent) or, four out of every ten children enrolled in licensed child care centers, had child care paid through IDHS, CYS, and/or IDCFS public financial assistance. This was 1.5 percent higher than the FY 2011 Salary and Staffing Survey report of 41.3 percent.

To further explore the enrollment patterns of centers, directors were asked how frequently their programs had vacancies over the past two years. On a scale of 1 ("There are always vacancies") to 5 ("There are never vacancies"), directors (n = 581) reported an average of 2.5 (with a median of 3.0). A rating of 3 means directors observed "there are sometimes vacancies" in their centers. Table 4 displays enrollment patterns.

Table 4. Enrollment patterns (n = 581)

Enrollment Pattern Percentage n
1 (There are always vacancies) 23.40% 136
2 (There are often vacancies) 22.40% 130
3 (There are sometime vacancies) 35.60% 207
4 (There are rarely vacancies) 17.00% 99
5 (There are never vacancies) 1.50% 9

As Table 4 demonstrates, 81.4 percent of all directors rated their vacancy pattern as "There are always vacancies" to "There are sometimes vacancies". This is nearly 5 percent higher than FY 2011's report, indicating that center directors have experienced vacancies to have increased in the past two years. It is interesting to note that per the NACCRRAware database, 4.4 percent of all contacted Illinois child care centers that closed their doors between the period of July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013, closed due to "insufficient enrollment."

Directors were also asked to reflect on how enrollment had changed over the past two years. On a scale from 1 ("Decreased greatly") to 5 ("Increased greatly"), directors indicated that on average the change of enrollment was 2.8 (n = 577; median = 3.0). The number 3 on the scale designates that the current enrollment "stayed about the same". While a comparison of the data in 2009 and 2011 indicates change in perceived enrollment patterns, for this question, directors recall 2011 as being on a par with 2013.

Ethnicity of Children in Programs

The 555 center directors responding to the item estimated that, on average, 17.3 percent (median = 4 percent; range = 0 to 100 percent) of the children in their programs were African-American, 61.8 percent (median = 76.0 percent; range = 0 to 100 percent) were Caucasian/White, 11.4 percent (median = 2 percent; range = 0 to 100 percent) were Hispanic/Latino, 0.3 percent (median = 0.0 percent; range = 0 to 60 percent) were Native American, 2.7 percent (median = 0.0 percent; range = 0 to 85 percent) were Asian/Pacific Islander, 5.0 percent (median = 1.0 percent; range = 0 to 100 percent) were multi-racial, and 1.4 percent (median = 0.0 percent; range = 0 to 83 percent) were of other racial/ethnic groups.

Over half (56.8 percent; n = 395) of directors indicated that there were children in their programs whose primary language was not English. Directors who reported children in their programs who spoke a language other than English also reported on the other languages spoken by the children in their center. In descending order, the following languages were reported to be spoken by the children. The percent shown in parenthesis represents the frequency of children who speak the indicated language in the 821 centers represented in the 2013 Salary and Staffing Survey.

  • Spanish (35.7 percent)
  • Chinese Dialect of either Cantonese or Mandarin (12.3 percent)
  • Hindi/Urdu (11.2 percent)
  • Polish (10.7 percent)
  • Arabic (7.9 percent)
  • Russian (6.9 percent)
  • Korean (5.5 percent)
  • Japanese (4.0 percent)
  • Vietnamese (3.8 percent)
  • Farsi (3.5 percent)
  • Hebrew (1.6 percent)
  • German (1.5 percent)
  • Other (0.2 percent)

Spanish (35.7 percent) was the predominant non-English primary language spoken by children in the responding centers. Languages listed in the "other" category included French and Yoruba.

Staffing Patterns

Directors were asked to provide information on the number of full-time and part-time staff employed in their center. In order to ensure the uniformity of job titles between the centers, the five staff positions highlighted in IDCFS licensing standards (see Appendix C) were used throughout the survey. The position of center director was separated into two categories to account for directors who double as teachers in their center. Other job categories were also listed in the survey that corresponded to those examined in previous surveys. Table 5 depicts the breakdown of center staff by position as well as the mean number of employees in the positions.

Table 5. Breakdown of center staff by position - IDCFS-Defined Positions

Position Employees Centers1 Mean Employees per Center Median Employees per Center
Administrative Director 546 439 1.2 1.0
Director/Teacher2 749 413 1.8 1.0
Early Childhood Teacher 4,149 519 8.0 6.0
Early Childhood Assistant 2,441 474 5.2 3.5
School-Age Worker 373 175 2.1 1.0
School-Age Assistant 143 77 1.9 1.0

1Number of centers with one or more staff members of the designated title.

2A director/teacher must meet the qualifications of both the director position and the teaching position.

Table 5. Breakdown of center staff by position - Other Staff Positions

Position Employees Centers1 Mean Employees per Center Median Employees per Center
Curriculum Coordinator 77 55 1.4 1.0
Family Support/ 109 54 2.0 1.0
Parent Educator
Cook 550 324 1.7 1.0
Administrative Support/Secretary 284 198 1.4 1.0
Building Support Staff 290 202 1.4 1.0
Other 249 79 3.2 1.0

The average child care center employs 19.1 staff members, the majority (84.5 percent) in IDCFS-defined positions. Early childhood teachers represented the single largest category of child care staff (49.4 percent of all staff and 41.7 percent of all IDCFS-defined instructional positions).

Directors were also asked to report on how many of their staff were lead teachers.12 Lead teachers were defined as follows:

The lead teacher is the individual with the highest educational qualifications assigned to teach a group/classroom of children and who is responsible for daily lesson planning, parent conferences, child assessment, and curriculum planning.

  • Depending on the program, this individual may be called a head teacher, master teacher, or teacher.
  • Each group/classroom will have one, and only one, lead teacher.

Five-hundred and fifty (n = 550) centers provided information about lead teachers. Child care centers averaged 6.3 lead teachers, with a median of 5.0. This figure is slightly greater, but is rather consistent with the findings from 2011 (mean = 5.9; median = 5.0).

Table 5 indicates that on average most centers employ one cook and one building support person in their program; however, not all centers have these employees on their regular staff. Of the 695 directors who responded to the survey, 24.2 percent indicated that they contracted for food service, 29.4 percent contracted for building cleaning, 30.1 percent contracted for grounds maintenance, and 3.6 percent indicated that they contracted for other services such as pest control, accounting, and office equipment.

To further explore staffing patterns, directors were asked to identify the number of instructional staff with a second-paying job outside of their center. Out of 560 responses to this question, 209 directors answered "I don't know" and 351 (62.7 percent) indicated that at least one member of their instructional staff had a second paying outside job. These directors reported that on average, almost two (mean = 2.0; median = 1.0; range = from 0.0 to 38.0) of their instructional staff had a second-paying job outside their center. The average number of staff reported to have an outside paying job is consistent with the findings from both 2009 and 2011.

12 The position "Lead Teacher" is not an IDCFS-defined position. However, a recommendation to revise IDCFS Licensing Standards for Day Care Centers to add "lead teacher" as a separate role category for teaching staff, appeared in the publication: "Who's Caring for the Kids? The Status of the Early Childhood Workforce - 2008," a joint project by the McCormick Tribune Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National-Louis University and the Early Childhood Parenting Collaborative at the University of Illinois. This report combined statistical data from IDHS, ISBE and INCCRRA to summarize the status of early child care education in Illinois and to make recommendations. The report proposed a definition of a "lead teacher" and the ECE credential levels which would be required for personnel hired as lead teachers in a day care center and/or Preschool for All program.

Male Staff

Men continue to be underrepresented when it comes to employment in the field of early care and education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2012 national percentage of men employed as child care workers was 5.9 percent, employed as teacher assistants was 8.9 percent and employed as preschool or kindergarten teachers was 1.9 percent.13 To assess how many males were employed in child care centers in Illinois, respondents were asked to indicate the number of males employed in IDCFS center staff positions. Table 6 presents the number of male staff members employed in each position. While 21.3 percent of centers employed one or more male staff members in an instructional capacity (all positions except administrative director in Table 6), only 3.2 percent (n = 272) out of 8,401 of instructional staff were male. This percentage increased only slightly from the 2011 report.

Table 6. Male center staff by position

Position All Employees Male Employees Percent of Male Employees All Centers1 Centers with Male Staff2 Percent of all Centers with Male Staff3
Administrative Director 546 27 4.9% 439 24 5.5%
Director/Teacher 749 19 2.5% 413 16 3.9%
Early Childhood Teacher 4,149 73 1.8% 519 50 9.6%
Early Childhood Assistant 2,441 95 3.9% 474 52 11.0%
School-Age Worker 373 60 16.1% 175 41 23.4%
School-Age Assistant 143 25 17.5% 77 16 20.8%
All Positions 8,401 299 3.6% 821 199 24.2%

Table should be read: "Of the 439 centers who had administrative directors, 24 or 5.5 percent had a male administrative director."

1Number of centers with one or more staff members of the designated title.

2Number of centers with one or more male staff members of the designated title.

3Percentage of centers with one or more male staff members of the designated title.

Note: See Note on Table 5

13 Figures were calculated by comparing the number of women in the position to the total number of workers in the position. This produced the number of males in the position. The BLS combines the positions of kindergarten and preschool teachers in their data. Data from, "Household Data Annual Averages", U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/opub/ee/2013/cps/annavg11_2012.pdf

Non-English Fluency of Staff

It was reported previously that over half of responding centers reported caring for at least one child whose primary language was other than English. In order to gauge staff capacity to speak a language other than English effectively, we asked directors to indicate how many of their staff were fluent in a non-English language. Table 7 presents the results of this inquiry. Nearly 15 percent of the 8,401 instructional staff were reported to be fluent in a language other than English (this is an increase from the 10.5 percent reported in 2011). Over two-thirds of all centers (67.6 percent) had at least one staff member who was fluent in a non-English language (this is a significant increase compared to the 2011 Staffing and Salary Survey result of 55.6 percent of centers with a staff member fluent in a non-English language).

In descending order, the following languages were reported as spoken fluently by center staff. The percentage of all programs represented in the survey that have staff who speaks that language appears in parentheses.

  • Spanish (30.1 percent)
  • Polish (5.2 percent)
  • Hindi/Urdu (4.9 percent)
  • Russian (3.0 percent)
  • Arabic (2.9 percent)
  • German (2.7 percent)
  • Chinese dialect of either Cantonese or Mandarin (2.2 percent)
  • Korean (1.6 percent)
  • Farsi (1.3 percent)
  • Vietnamese (0.7 percent)
  • Hebrew (0.5 percent)
  • Other (0.5 percent)
  • Japanese (0.1 percent)

The languages listed in the "other" category were French and Yoruba.

Table 7. Number of staff who are fluent in a non-English language by position

Position All Employees Employees with
non-English Fluency
Employees with
Non-English Fluency
All Centers1 Centers with
Non-English Fluent Staff 2
Percent of Centers who
Employ Non-English Fluent Staff3
Administrative Director 546 59 10.8% 439 59 13.4%
Director/Teacher 749 116 15.50% 413 70 16.90%
Early Childhood Teacher 4,149 527 12.70% 519 215 41.40%
Early Childhood Assistant 2,441 407 16.70% 474 165 34.80%
School-Age Worker 373 57 15.30% 175 28 16.00%
School-Age Assistant 143 18 12.60% 77 15 19.50%
All Positions 8,401 1,184 14.10% 821 552 67.20%

1Number of centers with one or more staff members of the designated title.

2Number of centers with one or more staff members of the designated title fluent in a non-English language.

3Percentage of centers with one or more staff members of the designated title who are fluent in a non-English language.

Table should be read: "Of the 439 centers who had administrative directors, 59 or 13.4 percent had an administrative director who is fluent in a language other than English."

Note: See Note on Table 5

Professional Development

Illinois State Professional Development Programs

Directors were asked about their awareness of and staff awareness of professional development opportunities and programs available in Illinois. Several programs exist including:

  • The Gateways to Opportunity Illinois Professional Development System is recognized for promoting quality and professionalism for early care and education, school-age, and youth practitioners.
    • The Gateways to Opportunity Registry is available for practitioners to track their training and professional development.
    • The Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program provides partial funding for college scholarships for both center and family child care providers in an effort to increase the educational levels of practitioners, promote increased practitioner compensation, and improve the consistency of care for children.
    • Great START (Strategy to Attract and Retain Teachers) is a wage supplement program that aims to increase child care practitioner retention while encouraging increased levels of education.
    • The Professional Development Advisor (PDA) Program pairs experienced mentors with less experienced practitioners to assist the latter in meeting their professional development goals.
    • Gateways to Opportunity awards credentials to practitioners in the field of early care and education, school-age and youth development. The various credentials that can be earned are the ECE Credential, Infant Toddler Credential (ITC), School-Age and Youth Development Credential (SAYD) and the Illinois Director Credential (IDC). Achievement of these credentials is based on educational level, professional development background and work experience in the field of early care and education.
  • The Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) recognizes Illinois child care providers for meeting specific indicators of quality and assists them by providing technical assistance, training and supports.
  • Local Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies offer various services for child care providers, parents and communities. Services for child care providers include technical assistance, training and consultation from specialists including QRS and Infant Toddler Specialists, Nurse and Mental Health Consultants.

Directors' awareness of the various professional development opportunities are reported below.

  • 96.0 percent (n = 553) of the 576 responding centers knew of the Gateways to Opportunity Registry;
  • 89.1 percent (n = 514) of the 577 responding center directors reported knowing of the Great START Program;
  • 89.9 percent (n = 518) of the 576 responding centers reported they had heard of the Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program;
  • 85.9 percent (n = 493) of the 574 responding centers had heard of Gateways to Opportunity Credentials;
  • 56.4 percent (n = 323) of the 573 responding center directors reported they had heard of the Professional Development Advisor Program;
  • 92.5 percent (n = 531) of the 574 responding centers knew of the Quality Counts Quality Rating System;
  • 88.3 percent (n = 505) of the 572 responding center directors knew of the consultants/specialists available through their local Child Care Resource & Referral agency.
  • 54.4 percent (n = 447) of all 821 responding centers had at least one Great START recipient in the past two years. Those 447 programs had a total of 1,583 recipients.
  • 29.5 percent (n = 242) of all 821 responding centers had at least one Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship participant for a total of 505 participants.

Some directors provided written feedback about these professional development opportunities. Below are representative comments.

The Great START Program:

  • "I would love to see more grants or incentive programs like Great Start Wage Supplement offered to raise the retention rate."
  • "I think that Great Start funding needs to be more of a priority. The current waiting list needs to be funded. With the wait list, some of my staff are reluctant to apply because they feel like they will never get funded."
  • "Thankfully my staff can apply for Great Start since the child care profession is so under appreciated by others and the pay is not the best."

Professional Development Plan

According to IDCFS Center Licensing Standards, center directors are responsible for ensuring that each child care staff member receives 15 hours of training each year. Programs that are accredited may have additional requirements beyond the 15 hours of training. A series of questions were devoted to finding out whether a center had a professional development plan for staff to meet this requirement, and the modes in which staff received training.

Professional Development Plan for Staff

  • 71.0 percent (n = 392) of the 552 directors who responded to the question reported they have a staff professional development plan for their center.
  • 56.7 percent (n = 313) of the 552 directors who responded reported they have an individual staff professional development plan for their teaching/instruction staff.
  • 96.8 percent (n = 536) of the 554 directors who responded to the question reported they have in-service training opportunities for their instructional staff.
  • 84.1 percent (n = 466) of the 554 directors who responded to the question reported they pay for conference training or registration.

Training Received

Of the 695 directors who responded to the question concerning training in early childhood education, child development, or health education:

  • 58.3 percent (n = 405) reported their staff had received training from a Child Care Resource and Referral agency;
  • 54.5 percent (n = 379) reported their staff had received training from a local community training; and
  • 55.7 percent (n = 387) reported their staff had received training at a professional association meeting or conference.

Of the 551 directors who responded, 60.7 percent believe there are adequate training opportunities available to them and their staff.

Illinois Director Credential

The Illinois Director Credential is awarded to directors on the basis of educational background, experience in the field and professional contributions to early care and education. Directors who have earned this voluntary credential exceed the qualifications necessary for their position per IDCFS Licensing Standards. Out of 490 directors who responded, 18.8 percent (n = 92) reported that an administrative director at their center has the Illinois Director Credential, and 15.5 percent (n = 76) reported that a director/teacher at their site has the Illinois Director Credential.14 Although there was a smaller sample size from the 2011 report, this data indicates a nearly five percent increase in reported director/teachers with the Illinois Director Credential compared to two years ago.

14 Lower "n" from FY 2011 due to survey administration error.

Peer Support

It is the director's responsibility to ensure center compliance with IDCFS licensing and other regulations, manage the day-to-day operations of the center, be its overall manager, and deal with various challenges on a daily basis. To measure the director's resilience to the nature and scope of issues inherent in his or her position, directors were queried about their support system (contact with other child care professionals).

When asked, "Approximately how many other child care professionals in addition to your immediate staff did you speak to last week?", 62.2 percent (n = 339) of the 545 responding directors reported that in the past week they spoke to no more than two additional child care professionals in addition to their immediate center staff, 22.8 percent (n = 124) reported that they spoke to between three and five additional child care professionals, and 15.0 percent (n = 82) reported that they spoke to six or more additional child care professionals.

Directors were also asked to recount how many other center professionals they know personally, in addition to their immediate center staff. Of the 549 directors who responded:

  • 65.4 percent (n = 359) reported knowing at least six other child care professionals;
  • 19.1 percent (n = 105) reported knowing three to five child care professionals; and
  • 15.5 percent (n = 85) directors reported knowing two or fewer child care professionals.

Staff Turnover

Turnover Rates

When searching for a quality child care arrangement in a center parents are advised to ask, "What is your staff turnover rate?" A consistent, nurturing caregiver is essential to creating a positive, trusting learning environment for children. That is why a stable workforce is paramount to providing quality child care. In order to understand the factors that comprise a stable workforce, questions concerning turnover rate, applicants, and new hires were posed.

Directors were asked to report the number of full-time and part-time staff members who left their program within the past two years. Temporary, substitute, and seasonal staff were excluded. To determine the percentage of turnover rate at the center level, the number of centers with staff exits within the past two years was compared to the number of centers employing staff with the given position. Staff turnover rate at the center level is presented in Table 8.

Table 8. Two-year center level turnover rate by position

Position Centers Employing Staff1 Centers who had Staff Leave in Past 2 Years1 Center
Administrative Director 439 52 11.80%
Director/Teacher 413 80 19.40%
Early Childhood Teacher 519 336 64.70%
Early Childhood Assistant 474 267 56.30%
School-Age Worker 175 62 35.40%
School-Age Assistant 77 26 33.80%

1Number of centers reporting at least one staff member of the indicated position. See Table 5.

Table should be read: "11.8 percent of centers employing administrative directors had one or more administrative director(s) leave their position in the past two years."

In order to calculate the turnover rate on an individual position level, the number of staff who left in the past two years was compared to the number of employees currently employed. Table 9 displays the percentage of employees who left each position within the past two years.

Table 9. Two-year individual position level turnover rate by position

Position Employees1 Staff Who Left in Past 2 Years1 Employee Turnover Rate
Administrative Director 546 52 9.5%
Director/Teacher 749 119 15.9%
Early Childhood Teacher 4,149 1,080 26.0%
Early Childhood Assistant 2,441 809 33.1%
School-Age Worker 373 103 27.6%
School-Age Assistant 143 48 33.6%

1From Table 5

Table should be read: "9.5 percent of directors left their position within the two years preceding the survey."

Data regarding the two-year turnover rate by position has been collected since the FY 1997 Staffing Salary Survey (although the turnover rates were referred to as "replacement rates" in all surveys prior to FY 2003). Table 10 offers a comparison of these rates from FY 2001 - FY 2013.

Table 10. Two-year turnover rate (individual position level) by position: FY 2003-FY 2013

Position FY 2003 FY 2005 FY 2007 FY 2009 FY 2011 FY 2013
Administrative Director 21% 15% 12% 14% 12% 10%
Director/Teacher 30% 23% 19% 18% 20% 16%
Early Childhood Teacher 38% 32% 28% 28% 25% 26%
Early Childhood Assistant 55% 53% 41% 39% 36% 33%
School-Age Worker 43% 31% 37% 36% 30% 28%
School-Age Assistant 56% 18% 24% 44% 38% 34%

Table should be read: "For every 100 administrative directors working in FY 2013, 10 administrative directors left in the two years preceding the survey."

Turnover rates appear to have slightly decreased across all positions (except for the early childhood teacher) since FY 2011. With the exception of the early childhood teacher and school-age assistant position, the overall turnover rates for other positions dropped to their lowest in FY 2013. With the economy struggling to recover from the recession, many workers are still clinging to their current position. According to the Los Angeles Times, analysts do not foresee the job market returning to the robust quality it had prior to the recession. Not only are "[t]he aging workforce...clinging to its jobs", but "companies...are holding onto more of their existing workers." 15 While the market may not return to the way it was pre-recession, as the economy continues to recover some experts in the field of human resources expect that many skilled workers will step outside of their safety net and seek new employment opportunities. This may mean that higher staff turnover rates seen prior to 2009 may creep back up as the workers who "tolerated less-than-ideal [working] conditions during the recession and its immediate aftermath" (freezing of raises and more responsibilities without proper compensation) start to look elsewhere for more compensation and appreciation.16

15 Don Lee, "Hiring, staff turnover aren't what they were before the recession", Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2013, http://articles.latimes.com/2013/aug/06/business/la-fi-mo-jobs-turnover-20130806

16 Sarah Halzack, "Worker turnover is poised to pick up, adding urgency to employers' focus on retention," The Washington Post, January 22, 2013, http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-22/business/36479511_1_turnover-towers-watson-laura-sejen

Turnover Reasons

Center directors were given a list of reasons why employees might leave and were asked to rate the importance of each reason for each employee who left on a scale of 1 ("Not important" to 5 ("Very important"). Broken down by position, Table 11 represents the percentage of directors who ranked a given reason of leaving a position as 4 ("Important") or 5 ("Very important").

Table 11. Percentage of directors reporting on importance of reason for leaving by position

Reason for Leaving Admin. Director Director/Teacher Early Childhood Teacher Early Childhood Assistant School-Age Worker School-Age Assistant
Took another position within our agency 23.10% 32.00% 17.20% 12.70% 10.00% 15.40%
Found a new job in child care 24.00% 31.00% 23.10% 25.20% 18.20% 15.40%
Found a new job in public schools 5.60% 25.00% 33.60% 7.40% 31.30% 8.30%
Found a new job outside of early care and education 23.80% 19.20% 30.40% 29.90% 22.20% 14.20%
Dissatisfied - pay 10.00% 48.10% 42.50% 35.30% 41.70% 25.00%
Dissatisfied - benefits 22.70% 42.80% 35.90% 30.30% 18.20% 27.30%
Dissatisfied -professional development opportunities 10.60% 11.80% 4.50% 8.10% 22.20% 0.00%
Dissatisfied - schedule 26.30% 15.00% 10.10% 6.80% 0.00% 7.70%
Terminated / Fired 17.90% 22.60% 35.70% 31.50% 7.70% 23.50%
Laid off 0.00% 20.00% 10.80% 10.00% 18.20% 16.70%
Retired 7.70% 9.50% 21.30% 6.40% 0.00% 0.00%
Personal 39.20% 29.10% 37.30% 33.60% 36.00% 42.10%

Table should be read: "24.0 percent of responding centers indicated that the employee 'found a new job in child care' was an important/very important reason why administrative directors left their job within the past two years."

It is apparent from Table 11 that the least significant reason for staff exit was dissatisfaction with professional development opportunities. The most predominant reason acknowledged by directors for staff departure among most positions was dissatisfaction with pay. This is a notable change from FY 2011 when no more than 36 percent of center directors rated either as an important or very important reason for staff exits across all positions. For FY 2011, the most common attributed reason for staff departure was "termination/fired". It is important to note that staff members that left were not directly asked about their reasons for leaving. Data in Table 11 represents directors' perceptions of reasons for exits.

Dissatisfaction with pay and benefits continued to increase as important reasons why center staff members left their positions from 2011 to 2013. As previously stated, directors reported an average of two (mean = 2.0; median = 1; range = from 0 to 38) of their instructional staff had a second-paying job outside their center. In addition, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Summary for October 2012, the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.2 percent over the last 12 months,17 while the "real average hourly earnings fell 0.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, from October 2011 to October 2012."18 Thus, consumer costs increased while real earnings decreased.

In response to the question of staff turnover, directors reported:

  • [W]e keep losing staff because of pay and benefits. We rarely loose because they hate the work or the center. I do not know how to get my staff better paid. It is so unfair and I know how hard they work. They not only teach, but clean, take out trash, are parent counselors, and spend more hours of a day than the parents of these children. We are losing amazing teachers because they are not treated like professionals by parents and public."
  • "A disparity exists in the salary compensation between teachers who work in Center-based Child Care/Preschool programs and teachers who work in the public schools. The Center-based programs cannot compete with the salaries and benefits that the Public Schools are able to offer. We are able to hire good teachers but we are not able to keep them. When there is an opening in a public school setting, the teachers who are Type 04s or who have Master's Degrees leave for the higher playing jobs with more benefits."
  • "The compensation and benefits in this field is a major factor in retaining and attracting professionals to the field of ECE."

17 "Economic News Release: Consumer Price Index News Release", U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 15, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/cpi_11152012.htm

18 "Economic News Release: Real Earnings News Release", U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 15, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/realer_11152012.htm

Applicants for Vacant Positions

In order to determine how vacant positions are filled, what type of applicants apply and what attracts applicants to the field, directors were asked to respond to a number of items.

Per job position, directors were asked to report the number of IDCFS qualified applicants, program qualified applicants (e.g., met qualifications to work in Head Start), and non-qualified applicants who had applied for advertised vacancies within the past two years. Table 12 shows the number of applicants who applied for each position and the percentage of applicants qualified (either IDCFS or program qualified) for the position as reported by the 821 center directors participating in the survey. Comparing these results from those of the 2011 survey, the percentage of non-qualified applicants significantly decreased for both school-age worker positions and the early childhood teacher, but rose significantly for the administrative director, director/teacher, and assistant teacher position. These results are mirrored in the percentages of program qualified applicants, except for the administrative director and school-age worker positions. The percentage of IDCFS qualified applicants across most positions increased from those reported in the FY 2011 survey. In FY 2013, more than half of the early childhood teacher applicants were IDCFS-qualified, up 4.1 percent from the previous report; however, the number of qualified assistant teachers dropped nearly ten percent from FY 2011. In 2012, the number of "unemployed persons per job opening" decreased from 6.2 unemployed per job opening to "3.4 in September 2012."19 More unqualified applicants may be applying to try to gain employment wherever possible.

Table 12. Percentage of applicants by position and qualifications

Qualification Status Admin. Director Director/ Early Childhood Teacher Early Childhood Assistant School-Age Worker School-Age Assistant
IDCFS-qualified applicants 53.20% 47.80% 53.30% 50.00% 45.80% 60.20%
Program-qualified applicants 12.80% 10.10% 10.20% 13.60% 11.30% 7.80%
Non-qualified applicants 34.00% 42.10% 36.50% 36.40% 42.90% 32.00%
Total applicants 462 1,765 5,799 3,570 856 334

Table should be read: "53.2 percent of applicants for administrative director openings were IDCFS-qualified."

To document the length of time needed to fill vacant positions, directors were asked to respond to a four-point rating scale of 1 ("Less than one week") to 4 ("More than four weeks"). Directors (n = 821) reported that it took the longest (three to four weeks) to fill an administrative director (mean = 2.9; n = 81), director/teacher (mean = 2.7; n = 118), and early childhood teacher (mean = 2.7; n = 339) vacancies. Directors reported a time of one to two weeks for filling vacancies in the positions of early childhood assistant (mean = 2.4; n = 275), school-age worker (mean = 2.4; n = 102), and school-age assistant (mean = 2.0; n = 67). With the exception of the higher average rating of the administrative director position, the average length of time to fill a vacant IDCFS position was between one and two weeks.

Directors were also asked, "Has the length of time to fill a vacancy changed over the last two years?" For each staff category, directors were asked to rate any change using a five-point scale.20 The directors reported as follows: 3.2 (n = 97) for administrative directors; 3.3 (n = 138) for director/teachers; 3.4 (n = 309) for early childhood teachers; 3.3 (n = 274) for early childhood assistants; 3.3 (n = 124) for school-age workers; and, 3.1 (n = 100) for school-age assistants. Across all positions, directors reported that the length of time to fill a vacancy over the last two years had stayed the same.

Directors reported on the ease or difficulty of filling vacancies within the past two years on a five-point rating scale. Their responses are reflected in Table 13.

Table 13. Mean rating1 of difficulty in filling program staff by position

Position Mean Rating
Admin. Director 3.2 (n=101)
Director/Teacher 3.5 (n=155)
Early Childhood Teacher 3.5 (n=358)
Early Childhood Assistant 3.0 (n=385)
School-Age Worker 3.1 (n=126)
School-Age Assistant 2.8 (n=103)

1Scale: 1 = "Very easy"; 2 = "Somewhat easy"; 3 = "Neither easy nor difficult"; 4 = "Somewhat difficult"; 5 = "Very difficult"

Many center directors expressed their concerns with the difficulties they have had finding qualified staff to work in their centers.

  • "I feel it is really difficult to find great teachers that want to help and mold the children with educating them. I know that childcare doesn't pay a lot and the hours are longer, so I believe that is a reason that it is hard to find good staff."
  •  "With few employees at my center it is very difficult to offer benefits, most importantly health insurance. Many child care centers have the same issue. Therefore it is difficult to hire/retain quality employees, especially those with Type 04 Certification."

19 "Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey: Highlights", U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 6, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/jlt/jlt_labstatgraphs_september2012.pdf

20 Scale: 1 = "Decreased by more than 2 weeks"; 2 = "Decreased by 1-2 weeks"; 3 = "Stayed the same"; 4 = "Increased by 1-2 weeks"; 5 = "Increased by more than 2 weeks"

Hires for Vacant Positions

Directors were asked to identify the number of hires within the last year that met, exceeded or did not meet IDCFS qualifications for their position as defined in the licensing standards. Table 14 indicates that nearly all hires at least met IDCFS standards. Those least likely to do so were school-age workers or school-age assistant workers. What is the most encouraging is that just as many (if not more) hires exceeded IDFCS qualifications for their position. Administrative directors and director/teachers in particular were slightly more likely to exceed standards as opposed to merely meet them.

Table 14. Percentage of hires in the past year meeting or exceeding IDCFS qualifications

Met IDCFS Qualifications Exceeded IDCFS Qualifications Did Not Meet IDCFS Qualifications
Position Responding Centers Number of hires Percent Responding Centers Number of Hires Percent Responding Centers Number of Hires Percent
Administrative Director 41 46 44.2% 41 55 52.9% 3 3 2.9%
Director/Teacher 67 102 47.4% 59 108 50.2% 5 5 2.3%
Early Childhood Teacher 190 618 57.9% 172 441 41.3% 8 9 0.8%
Early Childhood Assistant 177 569 66.3% 92 266 31.0% 14 23 2.7%
School-Age Worker 55 78 59.5% 30 45 34.4% 4 8 6.1%
School-Age Assistant 24 41 75.9% 7 9 16.7% 4 4 7.4%

Center directors were asked to compare the qualifications of staff hired within the past two years with the qualifications of staff hired more than two years ago and record their impressions using a five-point scale (see note in Table 15). Table 15 indicates that on average, directors appraised new hires to have similar qualifications as previous hires. Past Salary and Staffing Survey data have reported most directors to indicate that their new hires were somewhat more qualified. One explanation for this result in FY 2013 compared to previous reports could be that the increase of applicants who meet and exceed qualifications over the past several years are now the norm; therefore, it only appears as if the frequency of qualified applicants is stagnant.

Table 15. Perceived changes in qualifications of new hires in the past two years by position

Position Responding Centers Mean1 Median
Administrative Director 124 3.3 3
Director/Teacher 177 3.4 3
Early Childhood Teacher 327 3.3 3
Early Childhood Assistant 303 3.2 3
School-Age Worker 147 3.2 3
School-Age Assistant 118 3.1 3

1Scale: 1 = "Much less qualified"; 2 = "Somewhat less qualified"; 3 = "Same qualifications"; 4 = "Somewhat more qualified"; 5 = "Much more qualified"

Male Applicants

From providing a male role model for children to helping fathers become more involved in their child's care, males serve a myriad of important functions in early care and education. Directors (n = 821) indicated the number of males who applied for advertised positions within the past two years. Table 16 shows the results.

Table 16. Number of male applicants for vacant positions in the previous two years

Position Responding Centers Male Applicants in Past Two Years Proportion of Male Applicants per Open Position
Administrative Director 175 15 3.2%
Director/Teacher 221 82 4.6%
Early Childhood Teacher 285 204 3.5%
Early Childhood Assistant 241 133 3.7%
School-Age Worker 188 103 12.0%
School-Age Assistant 170 34 10.2%
Total -- 571 4.5%

As Table 16 shows, the positions of school-age worker and school-age assistants garnered the highest percentage of male applicants. This is consistent with past research which found that a higher percentage of men tend to be employed in afterschool child care than in other child care arenas.21 Overall, the number of male applicants for all positions slightly increased to 4.5 percent compared to the total proportion of male applicants per open position in FY 2011 (4.2 percent).

This increase (albeit small), coincides with studies discussing gender roles and child care, as the role of the male in the lives of children has become increasingly more evident. A child care center in Rockford, Illinois has discovered first-hand the role that male teachers play in early childhood. "[Child care centers] are playing a bigger role in the growing emotional development of the children they serve...Particularly important is giving children a positive male role model."22 Even though more fathers are staying home to provide and care for their children than ever before (3.5 percent of two-parent families have a mother that works full-time and a father that stays at home to care for the children), the need for male role models in the lives of children who are 33.3 percent more likely to be cared for by a working single-mother or 63.2 percent more likely to be cared for in a child care center due to both parents working is very strong, especially since less than three percent of child care workers are male.23 The small increase of males in the FY 2013 Salary and Staffing Survey data may be a result of more awareness of the importance of males in the child care workforce; however, it is also likely that it may be due to the high unemployment rate in Illinois24 whereby men of all ages are seeking employment wherever they may be able to find it.

Directors were further requested to specify the number of males they had hired within the past two years. Results displayed in Table 17 indicate that at least one-fifth of males who applied for each position were hired. Almost half (44.7 percent) of all males who applied for the position of school-age worker and almost all (91.2 percent) males who applied for the position of school-age assistant were hired; however, less than one percent of all applicants hired for the positions of early childhood teacher and administrative director were male and only slightly over one percent of early childhood assistants and director/teachers were male. In addition, less than two percent (1.6 percent) of all new hires were male. When 2011 and 2013 findings are compared, it is interesting to note that while more centers responded to the question in 2013, the actual number of male applicants that were hired only increased by seven (205 males hired in 2013 compared to 198 males hired in 2011). This means the proportion of male hires for all positions stayed the same between 2011 and 2013; however, a significant increase by position was only seen for school-age workers and assistants.

21 Heather Rolfe, "Occupational Segregation Working Paper Series No. 35: Men in Childcare", National Institute of Economic and Social Research, Equal Opportunities Commission, 2005, p. 6,http://www.koordination-maennerinkitas.de/uploads/media/Rolfe-Heather.pdf

22 Nicholas La Salla, "Male teachers serving as role models at Rockford day care centers", Rockford Parent, July 29, 2013, http://www.rockfordparent.com/your-kid/x1808720058/Male-teachers-serving-as-role-models-at-Rockford-daycare-centers

23 Rich Morin, "Study: More men on the 'daddy track'", Pew Research Center, September 17, 2013, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/09/17/more-men-on-the-daddy-track/

24 The August 2012 unemployment figures were 9.1 percent for the state of Illinois and 8.1 nationwide. The unemployment rate for men over the age of 16 was 7.6 percent. The unemployment rate between April and July 2012 for men between the ages of 18 and 24 was 17.9 percent nationwide. From U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

"Economic Situation News Release", September 7, 2012,http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_ 09072012.htm

"Summer Youth Labor Force News Release", August 21, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/ youth_08212012.htm

Table 17. Number of male applicants hired for vacant positions in the previous two years

Position Responding Centers Male Applicants Hired in Past Two Years Percent of Male Hires out of Total Male Applicants Proportion of Male Hires per Open Position
Administrative Director 246 5 33.3% 1.1%
Director/Teacher 260 18 22.0% 1.0%
Early Childhood Teacher 287 47 23.0% 0.8%
Early Childhood Assistant 265 55 41.4% 1.5%
School-Age Worker 255 48 46.6% 5.6%
School-Age Assistant 241 32 94.1% 9.6%
Total -- 205 35.9% 1.6%
Non-English Fluency of Applicants

As expressed previously in this report, the diversity of languages spoken by children in child care centers suggests that centers have staff with which children can effectively communicate in their primary language. Directors were asked to identify primary language information for applicants and hired employees in the past two years, and the results are displayed in Table 18. More than 80 percent of the non-English fluent applicants applied for the position of early childhood teacher or assistant. Compared to FY 2011, nearly two percent more applicants in FY 2013 were fluent in a non-English language (6.1 percent in FY 2011).

Table 18. Number of applicants fluent in a language other than English who applied for vacant positions in the previous two years

Position Responding Centers Applicants Fluent in Other Language in Past 2 Years Proportion of Applicants Fluent in Other Language in Past 2 Years
Administrative Director 163 15 3.2%
Director/Teacher 206 109 6.2%
Early Childhood Teacher 274 433 7.5%
Early Childhood Assistant 226 391 11.0%
School-Age Worker 165 64 7.5%
School-Age Assistant 154 14 4.2%
Total -- 1,026 8.0%

Directors also identified the languages spoken by primarily non-English speaking applicants:

  • 145 reported applicants who were fluent in Spanish
  • 15 directors reported applicants who were fluent in a Chinese dialect
  • 30 directors reported applicants who were fluent in Polish
  • 18 directors reported applicants who were fluent in Arabic
  • 26 directors reported applicants who were fluent in Hindi/Urdu
  • Less than ten directors reported applicants who were fluent in the following languages: Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Russian, German, Farsi, French and Hebrew.

Directors were then asked to indicate how many applicants fluent in a non-English language that had been hired. As noted in Table 19, a greater number of applicants who were fluent in a language other than English were hired in in either leadership or school-age assistant positions, contrary to the results from the FY 2011 report.

Table 19. Number of applicants fluent in a language other than English who were hired for vacant positions in the previous two years

Position Responding Centers Applicants Fluent in Other Language Hired in Past Two Years Percent of Applicants Fluent in Other Language Hired out of All Applicants Fluent in Other Language Proportion Applicants Fluent in Other Language Hired out of All Applicants
Administrative Director 219 10 66.7% 2.2%
Director/Teacher 237 44 40.4% 2.5%
Early Childhood Teacher 280 168 38.8% 2.9%
Early Childhood Assistant 270 146 37.3% 4.1%
School-Age Worker 216 20 31.3% 2.3%
School-Age Assistant 211 14 100.0% 4.2%
Total -- 402 39.2% 3.1%

Of those directors who reported hiring applicants who were fluent in a non-English language:

  • 138 directors reported hiring applicants who were fluent in Spanish
  • 16 directors reported hiring applicants who were fluent in Polish
  • 12 directors reported hiring applicants who were fluent in Arabic
  • 16 directors reported hiring applicants who were fluent in Hindi/Urdu
  • Less than ten directors reported hiring individuals who were fluent the following languages: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Russian, German, Farsi, Hebrew, French, and Yoruba.

Attraction to Child Care Careers and Employment

In order to explore why many are disinclined to child care as a career option, directors were asked to rate a list of potential deterrents on a scale of importance from 1 ("Not Important") to 5 ("Very Important"). Reasons which yielded a mean or median of 4.0 or higher were: "Better Career Opportunities in Other Child Care Professions," "Child Care Not Seen as Professional Career", and "Child Care Not Respected as Profession."

"Low Salaries" and "Inadequate Benefits" (both with a median of 5.0 and a mean greater than 4.0) were listed as the top two reasons that detracted people from the field of early care and education. These results are consistent with previous Salary and Staffing Survey reports.

Table 20. Reasons applicants not attracted to employment in child care

Responding Centers Mean Median
Career Opportunities Not Known 490 3.18 3
Better Career Opportunities in Other Child Care Professions 489 4.06 4
Child Care Not Seen as Professional Career 489 3.95 4
Low Salaries 493 4.67 5
Inadequate Benefits 490 4.47 5
Openings Not Advertised 490 3.06 3
Child Care Not Respected as Profession 489 3.95 4

 The difficulty of attracting qualified candidates to the early child care field was expressed by many directors:

  •  "It is really hard to find qualified teachers...far and few...."
  • "Some of the staffing and compensation issues that we face are difficulty finding qualified and well trained employees, difficulty adequately compensating well trained and devoted staff, and difficulty in providing continuing education that consists of more than just the 1 to 2 hour classes that CCR&R offers."
  • "Finding qualified staff members to be teachers who want to work until 6pm busy with families, going to college, etc sharing a car etc/we aren't getting professional level, qualified loving applicants - hard to find!"

Some directors focused on difficulties finding part-time or substitute staff:

  • "It is difficult to hire and find director qualified personnel to work in a part-time facility."
  • "It is rather difficult to find and hire qualified substitute teachers."

Many directors addressed how child care is not respected as a profession:

  • "This continues to be a low paying field of employment with almost no hope of including much needed benefits for staff. Child care providers offer one of the most important jobs/services in our country but are still treated as though we are second class citizens in the job market. At our center, we love and truly care for our children."
  • "We are losing amazing teachers because they are not treated like professionals by parents and public. We need help educating them."

Center Turnover

Center turnover was measured by drawing from the provider database on two separate occasions. The number of practitioners actively providing care on June 30, 2011 (June 30 represents the end of a fiscal year) was compared to the number in that same category on June 30, 2013. Table 20a displays the number of providers who are currently providing care, the number of new providers who were added to the database during 2013 and the number of providers who were active in the provider database as of June 30, 2013. As Table 20a shows, there was a slight increase in the number of center providers for the two-year period and a slightly greater increase of total licensed capacity.

Table 20a. Provider turnover 2011-2013: Licensed Child Care Centers

Active 2011 Still Active 2011 Percent Change New Providers 2013 Percent Change Active 2013 Percent Change
Active Providers 3,150 2,851 -9.5% 322 +11.3% 3,173 +0.7%
Total Licensed Capacity 234,270 217,637 -7.1% 20,012 +9.2% 243,106 +3.8%

Staff Demographics

In order to assess staff demographics and understand the effects of the economy on the child care industry, directors were supplied with a supplemental worksheet25 and asked to complete it for all staff members who were employed either full- or part-time in an IDCFS defined positions (director and classroom personnel). Information gathered was limited to these IDCFS defined positions because they are the most common and consistent positions across all child care programs and are central to the operation of a typical program.

Directors from 401 centers completed the worksheet and provided information about 3,222 staff members who worked in their centers. Since not all directors answered every question on the worksheet, the number of responses to each specific question varied and, as elsewhere in this report, is indicated with "n".

Table 21. Number of employees per IDCFS defined position (n = 3,206)

Position Employees Percentages
Administrative Director 241 7.5%
Director/Teacher 360 11.2%
Early Childhood Teacher 1,599 49.9%
Early Childhood Assistant 887 27.7%
School-Age Worker 90 2.8%
School-Age Assistant 29 0.9%
Total 3,206 100.0%

The information in Table 21 is somewhat discrepant from the information previously reported in Table 5 which also reports the amount of staff per position; however, both are reporting on slightly different information (all full-time and part-time employees versus only IDCFS defined positions) and both are derived from two different sources (survey versus worksheet).26

For the purposes of this survey full-time employment was defined as 40 hours per week.27 (Neither the Illinois Department of Labor nor the federal Fair Labor Standards Act28 distinguishes between part-time and full-time employees.) On the staffing worksheet, directors were asked to indicate the number of hours each listed staff member worked per week. Results indicate that overall, 59.4 percent of listed employees were defined as full-time and 40.6 percent as part-time.

25 The staff worksheet requested detailed information about each employee: position, age, primary language, education, certification, age group worked with, hourly wage, hours worked per week, start date, and benefits.

26 It is also worth noting that results are varied because only 401 of the 821 centers who participated in the survey (48.8 percent) completed the staffing worksheet.

27 The work week was defined as 40 hours because the survey delineates a full-day as 8 hours/day.

28 "The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not define full-time employment or part-time employment. This is a matter generally to be determined by the employer." U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.dol.gov/elaws/faq/esa/flsa/014.htm

Table 22. Percentage of full-time and part-time employees by position

Position Full-Time Part-Time n
Administrative Director 86.0% 14.0% 236
Director/Teacher 65.2% 34.8% 348
Early Childhood Teacher 62.4% 37.6% 1,588
Early Childhood Assistant 48.6% 51.4% 874
School-Age Worker 33.3% 66.7% 87
School-Age Assistant 6.9% 93.1% 29
Total 59.4% 40.6% 3,162

Table should be read: "86.0 percent of administrative directors were full-time whereas 14.0 percent were part time."

Education and Credentials

The worksheet is used to record the highest level of education completed by each employee and whether each had attained a 02/04 teaching certificate.29 The educational requirements necessary to be director or teacher-qualified (see Appendix C) are stipulated in the IDCFS licensing standards for day care centers. In summary, directors can qualify through 60 semester hours of coursework from an accredited college or university [18 semester hours must be directly related to child care (ECE) or child development (CD)], or can qualify through a combination of education and work experience. Similarly, early childhood teachers can either complete 60 hours of coursework from an accredited college or university (six semester hours must be directly related to ECE or CD) or qualify through a combination of education and work experience. (Directors of school-age programs and school-age workers are required to have coursework directly related to school-age child care, child development, elementary education, physical education, recreation, camping, or other related fields.)

Table 23 shows that over 60 percent (62.6 percent) of all staff in IDCFS positions had an associate degree or higher. Over 90 percent of all directors and early childhood teachers attained some level of college education. A large percent of administrative directors (66.8 percent) and over half of directors/teachers (51.8 percent) had earned their Bachelor or Master's degree, which are educational milestones that exceed IDCFS licensing standards. Nearly three out of every four early childhood teachers (74.4 percent) had achieved an Associate degree or higher (which also exceeds licensing standards for that position). Moreover, almost half (46.4 percent) had earned a degree in early childhood education or child development (ECE/CD). Over 57 percent (57.2 percent) of early childhood assistants and 50.0 percent of school-age assistants had received education beyond a high school or GED degree.

29 A Type 04 (early childhood) teaching certificate is granted by the Illinois State Board of Education to educators who have earned a BA degree in early childhood and passed all state exams and requirements to teach in a publicly funded program serving children birth through age eight. A Type 02 certificate is the old ISBE early childhood teaching certificate which signified an individual was certified to teach pre-K - grade 3.

Table 23. Center staff educational attainment by position (column percentages)

Education Level Admin. Director Director/Teacher Early Childhood Teacher Early Childhood Assistant School-Age Worker School-Age Assistant All Positions
High School Diploma/GED 0.80% 0.60% 0.30% 42.80% 13.50% 50.00% 13.00%
CDA, CCP1 or Montessori credential2 2.50% 4.80% 7.30% 4.90% 2.20% 0.00% 5.80%
Some College in ECE/CD3, no degree 5.90% 11.20% 16.10% 22.60% 32.60% 25.00% 17.10%
Approved Community College ECE Certificate 0.80% 1.70% 1.90% 1.20% 2.20% 0.00% 1.60%
Associate in ECE/CD 17.60% 25.20% 28.10% 6.40% 11.20% 3.60% 20.30%
Associate in other field 5.50% 4.80% 5.40% 6.90% 7.90% 10.70% 5.90%
Bachelor's in ECE/CD 18.50% 23.50% 14.60% 3.50% 11.20% 3.60% 12.70%
Bachelor's in other field 26.90% 19.30% 19.80% 9.00% 16.90% 0.00% 17.00%
Master's in ECE/CD 13.40% 6.20% 3.70% 0.80% 1.10% 0.00% 3.80%
Master's in other field 8.00% 2.80% 2.80% 1.80% 1.10% 7.10% 2.90%
N 238 357 1,584 880 89 28 3,176

Table should be read, "Out of 238 administrative directors for whom education and credential information was provided, 8.0 percent had a Master's degree in a field other than early childhood education or child development."

1CDA is the acronym for Child Development Associate; CCP is the acronym for Child Care Professional

2American Montessori Society or Association Montessori International

3ECE is the acronym for early childhood education; CD is the acronym for child development.

Years of Experience

Directors were asked to record the number of years of paid experience each staff member had in the field of early care and education. The results in Table 24 reveal that the average number of years differs with each position. Administrative directors and director/teachers averaged more years of experience; school-age assistants averaged the least. Among all child care practitioners, the average years of experience in the child care field was 10.1 years (median = 7.0 years). Although the range of years of experience differed for each position, there were staff members in all positions with considerable tenure (exceeding 40 years) in the child care field.

Table 24. Years of experience

Years of Experience in Child Care Field
Position Mean Median n Range
Administrative Director 18.0 16.0 214 1-49 years
Director/Teacher 14.4 13.0 337 1-42 years
Early Childhood Teacher 10.1 8.0 1,483 1-46 years
Early Childhood Assistant 6.7 4.0 833 1-40 years
School-Age Worker 8.8 5.0 83 1-43 years
School-Age Assistant 3.9 1.0 28 1-25 years
Total 10.1 7.0 2,978 1-49 years

Salary and Wages

Salary Scale

Of the 695 directors who responded to the item "Do you have a salary scale that you share with your staff?" 36.3 percent (n = 252) indicated that they did. When asked how salary scales were differentiated:

  • 32.1 percent (n = 223) of 695 respondents reported a salary scale differentiated by level of education,
  • 29.2 percent (n = 203) of 695 respondents reported a salary scale differentiated by level of experience,
  • 9.5 percent (n = 66) of 695 respondents reported a salary scale differentiated by additional or supplemental training, and
  • 5.0 percent (n = 35) of 695 respondents reported a salary scale differentiated on some other basis. Other salary scales were based on length of employment/years of service, union contracts, pay grades set by campus/college human resources, job title/position description, minimum wage, responsibility, salary ranges based on position, and seniority.

Hourly Wage by Position

Directors were asked to specify the hourly wage paid to each employee listed on the worksheet. The average hourly wage for all employees (n = 3,093 employees) was $12.50 (median = $11.00) (f = 201.84,  p< .001). Table 25 depicts hourly wages by position. Comparing this data to the FY 2011 Staffing Salary report yields a slight increase in earnings for all positions except that of the director/teacher (who showed the highest increase in hourly wage between FY 2009 and FY 2011). There was a slight decrease in the hourly wage for director/teachers; however, there was no statistical significance to the decrease.

Although all positions except director/teachers saw their average hourly wage increase in 2013, once the Consumer Price Index (CPI)30 was calculated to factor in for rate of inflation the percent change was either not as strong or a negative percent change. Half of the positions (administrative directors, school-age workers, and school-age assistants) had increases in hourly wages that was somewhat equitable with inflation, but the other half of the positions (director/teachers, early childhood teachers, and early childhood assistants) did not. The 2013 average wage of $12.55 for early childhood teachers had the same buying power as $12.07 did in 2011; the 2013 average wage of $10.05 for early childhood assistant teachers had the same buying power as $9.67 in 2011.31 Administrative directors saw an average of an 14.8 percent increase in hourly wages, school-age workers an average of a 7.4 percent hourly wage increase, and school-age assistants an average of a 9.1 percent hourly wage increase; however, once the rate of inflation was factored in to compare it to 2011 monetary values, the 2013 average hourly wage increase for all positions of 8¢ dropped to -40¢.

Table 25. Hourly wage by position

Position Average Hourly Wage 2011 Average Hourly Wage 2013 Median Hourly Wage 2011 Median Hourly Wage 2013 Change in Average Hourly Wage n 2013
Admin. Director $17.48 $20.06 $16.09 $18.55 14.8% 223
Director/Teacher $14.94 $14.08 $13.12 $13.00 -5.8% 341
Early Childhood Teacher $12.53 $12.55 $11.50 $11.04 0.2% 1,562
Early Childhood Assistant $9.91 $10.05 $9.00 $9.25 1.4% 848
School-Age Worker $10.20 $10.95 $9.38 $9.90 7.4% 90
School-Age Assistant $9.01 $9.83 $8.75 $9.00 9.1% 29

Table 25 also indicates that early childhood assistants and school-age assistants received lower wages than staff in other positions. Typically, these are positions in early childhood that require less education and experience to enter and yield compensation to match. The median hourly wages earned by early childhood assistants and school-age assistants were $9.25 and $9.00 respectively (the minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25).32

30 "The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services" It's frequently called the "cost-of-living index." "Consumer Price Index: Frequently Asked Questions", U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/cpi/

31 Calculations: CPI Inflation Calculator http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=13.12&year1=2011&year2 =2009

32 "Minimum Wage Law", Illinois Department of Labor,http://www.illinois.gov/idol/Laws-Rules/FLS/Pages/ minimum-wage-law.aspx

Comparison of Hourly Wages from FY 2007-FY 2011

In Figure 1, the mean hourly wages for the positions of director/teacher, early childhood teacher, and early childhood assistant are compared over time. These figures have not been adjusted for inflation. The average hourly wage for early childhood assistants shows a steady increase since FY09. The average hourly wages for director/teachers and early childhood teachers have fluctuated (or in the case of early childhood teachers, only very slightly increased) since 2009. Still, as far as the consumer price index goes, director/teachers would need to earn $15.35 per hour, early childhood teachers $13.68 per hour, and early childhood assistants $10.96 per hour in 2013 to have the same buying power as $14.08, $12.55, and $10.05 had back in 200933. Overall, child care center staff wage increases are generally not keeping up with inflation.

Comparison of Hourly wages: FY 2009 - FY 2013

Year Director/Teacher Early Childhood Teacher Early Childhood Assistant
FY 2009 $13.89 $12.29 $9.49
FY 2011 $14.94 $12.53 $9.91
FY 2013 $14.08 $12.55 $10.05

Figure 1. Comparison of hourly wages: FY 2009 - FY 2013

The salary data supplied by directors can be compared to the most current Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)34 . Although the data may not be strictly comparable, the national figures provide some context for interpreting the hourly wage of child care personnel in Illinois.

Three categories are primarily used by the BLS to include various child care positions. The categories are listed below, along with the descriptions provided on the BLS website. The mean and median hourly wages specified by the BSL are also included, followed in parenthesis by the mean and median hourly wages from Table 25.

Category 1 (11-9031): Education Administrators, Preschool and Child Care Center/Program. Description of position: "Plan, direct, or coordinate the academic and non-academic activities of preschool and child care centers or programs." As of May 2012, the mean hourly wage for this position was $27.17 and the median was $21.96 (mean = $20.06; median = $18.55).

Category 2 (25-2011): Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education. Description of position: "Instruct preschool-aged children in activities designated to promote social, physical, and intellectual growth needed for primary school in preschool, day care center, or other child development facility." As of May 2012, the mean hourly wage for a preschool teacher was $13.92 and the median was $11.76 (mean = $12.55; median = $11.04).

Depending on the responsibilities of an assistant teacher, the position could fall under either the BLS category of Teacher Assistants or Child Care Workers.

Category 3 (25-9041): Teacher Assistants. Description of position: "Perform duties that are instructional in nature… [a]nd serve in a position for which a teacher has ultimate responsibility for the design and implementation of educational programs and services." As of May 2012, the mean hourly wage for an assistant teacher was $11.4135 (mean = $10.05).

Category 4 (39-9011): Child Care Workers. Description of position: "Attend to children at schools, businesses, private households, and child care institutions. Perform a variety of tasks, such as dressing, feeding, bathing, and overseeing play." As of May 2012, the mean hourly wage for a child care worker was $10.87 and the median was $10.21 (mean = $10.05; median = $9.25).

33 CPI Inflation Calculator:  http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

34 From "May 2012 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Illinois", Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_il.htm

35 The annual mean wage listed in BLS was used to derive the hourly mean wage for Teacher Assistants. Comparison of median hourly wages are not available.

Hourly Wage by Full- Versus Part-Time Status

Summing across all staff positions, directors reported hourly wages to be more for full-time compared to part-time employees (n = 3,061 employees). Full-time employees averaged $12.55 per hour compared to $12.35 per hour for part-time staff. The median hourly wage for full-time staff was $11.00 and part-time staff was $10.71 per hour (f = 1.23, p > .05). Table 26 shows the breakdown of hourly wages by position and employment status. The findings for specific positions is distinctly different from the 2011 report, but consistent with findings from 2007 and 2009 where part-time employees made more than full-time employees across almost all positions. In 2011, only early childhood teachers and assistants were reported as having higher hourly wages as part-time staff, while all positions except administrative directors and school-age workers found themselves making more in a full-time position. Across all four reports (from FY 2007 through FY 2013) one consistent finding emerges: early childhood teachers and early childhood assistants averaged more per hour when employed on a part-time versus a full-time status. This difference in hourly wage may be due to the type of centers which typically employ part-time classroom personnel versus full-time staff (e.g., nursery schools; see table 29).

Table 26. Hourly wages by position by full- vs. part-time status

Employment Status
Full-Time Part-Time
Position Mean Median n Mean Median n
Administrative Director $20.30 $19.00 190 $18.68 $17.00 31
Director/Teacher $13.95 $13.00 217 $14.02 $12.28 114
Teacher $11.96 $11.00 975 $13.50 $11.78 580
Assistant Teacher $9.73 $9.25 412 $10.25 $9.18 426
School-Age Worker $11.24 $10.00 29 $10.84 $9.50 58
School-Age Assistant $9.07 $9.07 2 $9.89 $9.00 27

Staff Experience and Education

Table 27 (n = 2,888; f = 91.33, p< .001) reveals that higher wages accompany increased years of experience. Comparison of 2011 and 2013 data show an overall increase in the mean and median hourly wages reported for school-age workers in 2013. Conversely, once director/teachers, early childhood teachers, and early childhood assistants reached six years of service, their reported mean hourly earnings were higher (and continued to be higher for subsequent years of service) in 2011 than 2013. The sample size of school-age assistants was too small to attribute any significant results; however, it did follow the same trends as the other positions.

Table 27: Hourly wages by years of experience by position (n = 2,888)

Admin. Director Director/ Teacher Early Childhood Teacher Early Childhood Assistant School- Age Worker School-Age Assistant
Years of Experience Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Medium n Mean Medium n Mean Medium n
0-2 years $15.01 $15.23 10 $11.70 $10.38 26 $11.30 $10.00 249 $9.44 $8.75 307 $10.47 $9.25 24 $9.42 $8.63 20
3-5 years $23.62 $19.30 15 $11.60 $10.75 30 $11.40 $10.50 313 $9.86 $9.11 169 $10.26 $9.63 18 -- -- --
6-9 years $16.50 $16.19 29 $13.08 $12.00 56 $12.47 $11.00 281 $10.22 $9.33 118 $10.48 $10.50 11 $9.00 $8.25 3
10-15 years $18.86 $18.09 46 $14.02 $13.12 89 $12.70 $11.50 304 $10.63 $9.68 122 $10.69 $10.00 15 -- -- --
16-20 years $20.93 $18.25 29 $14.19 $13.75 51 $13.16 $12.00 141 $11.33 $11.00 44 $12.02 $9.55 7 -- -- --
20 +years $22.54 $23.00 72 $16.32 $15.36 70 $15.33 $13.90 167 $11.17 $10.86 39 $13.68 $12.55 8 -- -- --

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

Table 28: Hourly wages by education by position (n = 3,078)

Admin. Director Director/ Teacher Early Childhood Teacher Early Childhood Assistant School-Age Worker School -Age Assistant All Positions
Level of Education Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Median n
High School/ GED - - - - - - $10.08 $10.23 4 $9.23 $8.94 364 $10.20 $9.90 12 $9.60 $8.88 14 $9.27 $9.00 398
Child Development Associate* $15.87 $14.50 5 $12.40 $11.80 16 $11.32 $11.00 111 $10.05 $9.68 42 - - - - - - $11.25 $10.71 176
Some College in ECE/CD, no degree $17.60 $17.50 12 $12.04 $12.28 38 $10.73 $10.00 248 $9.93 $9.25 187 $10.13 $9.50 29 $9.39 $9.50 7 $10.65 $10.00 524
Approved Community College ECE Certificate - - - $12.55 $11.80 5 $11.33 $10.87 30 $9.91 $10.00 11 - - - - - - $11.43 $10.65 49
Associate in ECE/CD $18.02 $17.00 39 $12.78 $12.28 88 $11.79 $11.00 438 $12.05 $10.87 54 $13.20 $10.50 10 - - - $12.35 $11.32 630
Associate in other field $18.67 $18.64 12 $12.42 $11.50 17 $10.65 $10.00 83 $9.69 $9.11 57 $9.63 $9.25 7 $10.42 $8.50 3 $11.00 $10.00 179
Bachelor's in ECE/CD $21.30 $18.93 44 $15.61 $15.00 79 $14.89 $14.00 229 $13.15 $12.25 30 $13.94 $11.58 10 - - - $15.60 $15.00 393
Bachelor's in other field $18.73 $17.52 60 $14.22 $12.82 66 $12.65 $11.30 305 $11.40 $10.15 77 $10.42 $10.00 18 - - - $13.30 $11.75 523
Master's in ECE/CD $22.93 $20.91 29 $20.75 $21.47 19 $19.69 $19.00 57 $13.25 $13.00 5 - - - - - - $20.33 $19.23 111
Master's in other field $27.37 $27.92 17 $16.08 $13.26 9 $16.58 $13.86 45 $11.34 $11.00 16 - - - - - - $17.42 $13.52 90

*Category also includes Child Care Professional Certificate or Montessori (American Montessori or Association Montessori International) credential.

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

Just as Table 27 demonstrates a logical pattern between hourly wage and experience (generally, the more experience, the more one will get paid), Table 28 displays the logical pattern between hourly wage and education. Specifically, increased education and experience typically lead to higher hourly wages. In Table 28 (n = 3,078; f = 116.85, p< .001) educational levels are defined by degree earned and the major field of study. Across almost all positions, those who hold a degree (Associate, Bachelor's, Master's) in early childhood education (ECE) or child development (CD) earn significantly more than those who hold the same degree but in another field or major (p< 0.001). Employees spending 100 percent of their time with children (early childhood teachers, early childhood assistant, school-age workers, and school-age assistants) with a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA)36 enjoy a higher mean and median hourly wage than staff with "some college in early childhood education or child development, but no degree." It is worth noting that IDCFS Licensing Standards deem individuals who hold a CDA Credential to be teacher qualified.

36 To obtain a CDA credential, candidates need to complete 120 hours of formal education in the area of child development and growth, as well as other requirements. From Council for Professional Recognition website, http://www.cdacouncil.org/the-cda-credential

Center Characteristics and Hourly Wage

Hourly wages were evaluated in relation to program duration, accreditation status, the Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) status, legal status (not-for-profit vs. for-profit), center size, CCAP enrollment, and region.

Across all positions where data is reported for both full- and part-time employees, the hourly wages earned in part-year programs were higher than those earned in full-time programs (f = 283.87, p< .001). Part-year program employees, earned on average $15.41 (median = $13.82) per hour; while full-year program employees averaged $11.78 per hour (median = $10.27). Table 29 presents the mean and median hourly wage by position and program duration.

Table 29. Hourly wages by position by program duration

Program Duration
Full-Year Part-Year
Position Mean Median n Mean Median n
Administrative Director $19.24 $18.00 175 $23.09 $21.55 48
Director/Teacher $13.21 $12.25 268 $17.26 $16.00 73
Early Childhood Teacher $11.70 $10.87 1276 $16.34 $14.56 286
Early Childhood Assistant $9.58 $9.00 669 $11.81 $11.00 179
School-Age Worker $10.80 $9.79 76 $11.77 $10.25 14
School-Age Assistant $10.01 $8.75 17 $9.58 $9.25 12

Using data from NACCRRAware, variables were created to indicate the national accreditation and Quality Counts Quality Rating System rating status of licensed child care center programs participating in the FY 2013 Salary and Staffing Survey. These variables were examined in combination with wage data to determine whether there were any significant differences in wages between participating and non-participating programs.

Accredited centers could hold accreditation from one of several early care and education associations: the National Association for the Education of Young Children Accreditation, the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation, the National Association of Child Care Professionals, and the Council of Accreditation for School-Age Care. A center was considered accredited if they had one or more of the former accreditations. Table 30 demonstrates that, overall, without regard to position, there was a significant difference in the wages paid by accredited versus non-accredited centers. Accredited centers paid staff significantly more (mean = $14.39; median = $12.39) than non-accredited centers (mean = $12.05; median = $10.50) (f = 109.702, p< .001).

Table 30. Hourly wages by position by accreditation status

Accreditation Status
Not Accredited Accredited
Position Mean Median n Mean Median n
Administrative Director $19.35 $17.80 177 $22.83 $22.30 46
Director/Teacher $13.64 $12.50 311 $18.64 $17.14 30
Early Childhood Teacher $11.96 $11.00 1206 $14.54 $12.82 356
Early Childhood Assistant $9.86 $9.00 697 $10.94 $10.00 151
School-Age Worker $11.05 $10.00 80 $10.18 $9.50 10
School-Age Assistant $9.59 $8.88 26 $11.92 $10.50 3

The Quality Counts Quality Rating System recognizes achievements by child care providers above minimum standards set by the state. The system is divided by levels which providers can achieve by meeting required criteria for each level. Licensed child care centers who have reached Star Level 4 have reached the highest level of the QRS.37 In FY 2011, no child care centers who responded to the survey had achieved the Star Level 4. Hourly wage and position of employees reported in the FY 2013 Salary and Staffing Survey were compared to the level of QRS participation the employee's center had reached. The comparisons can be seen in Table 31.

37 See the Illinois Quality Counts Quality Rating System website for more information: http://www.ilqualitycounts.com/quality-rating-system/overview

Table 31. Hourly wages by position by QRS participation status

Position
Administrative Director Director/Teacher Early Childhood Teacher Early Childhood Assistant
QRS Status Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Median n
Not participating $20.55 $18.80 162 $14.02 $12.76 281 $13.05 $11.50 968 $10.28 $9.45 558
Star Level 1 - - - 1 - - - $9.21 $9.09 9 $8.56 $8.41 8
Star Level 2 $16.51 $15.00 25 $12.86 $11.47 34 $10.77 $10.05 273 $8.99 $8.75 134
Star Level 3 $19.58 $19.00 32 $16.11 $14.08 24 $12.58 $11.50 273 $10.18 $9.72 125
Star Level 4 $25.48 $23.50 3 - - - $12.99 $11.46 39 $10.41 $9.75 23

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

As shown in Table 31, there was an overall significant difference in the wages paid by QRS participating versus non-QRS participating licensed child care centers (f = 43.75, p<.001), and the pattern observed was a linear association between increased Star Levels in the QRS rating system and increased or decreased wages by Star Level. In general, higher wages were paid in programs not participating in the QRS program and/or in programs rated at a Star Level 4 (and in Star Level 3 for director/teachers). The limited and unequal size of the group of respondents participating in QRS in the survey sample may not have been sufficient to adequately describe the effect of QRS participation status upon hourly wage. It is also possible that other factors, such as location of the QRS participating centers, the overlap between accreditation status and Star Level status, and the characteristics of programs opting to participate in the QRS program represented in the survey, may also account for some of the variance we see in wages by QRS participation status.

With the exception of school-age care (where the sample size was relatively low), not-for-profit programs paid a significantly higher hourly wage than for-profit programs. Not-for-profit staff averaged $13.39 (median = $11.50) per hour as compared to for-profit staff who averaged $11.33 per hour (mean = $10.00) (f = 132.45, p< .001). Table 32 depicts hourly wage by position and legal status (for profit vs. non-profit).

Table 32. Hourly wages by position by center profit status (n = 3,093)

Profit Status
For Profit Not For Profit
Position Mean Median n Mean Median n
Administrative Director $17.72 $17.00 95 $21.80 $20.05 128
Director/Teacher $12.61 $12.00 167 $15.49 $14.54 174
Early Childhood Teacher $11.37 $10.50 650 $13.38 $12.00 912
Early Childhood Assistant $9.23 $9.00 375 $10.69 $9.75 473
School-Age Worker $10.90 $9.80 41 $10.99 $10.00 49
School-Age Assistant $8.72 $8.63 14 $10.87 $10.00 15

Very small negative correlations were found to exist between center size and hourly wage (r = -.15, p < .01). Similarly, a very small, yet significant negative correlation was found between the hourly wage paid to employees and the number of children enrolled in the center whose parent(s) received Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) assistance (r = -.14, p < .01). These small negative correlations can mean that as enrollment or number of children enrolled in CCAP goes up, hourly wage has been observed to go down. This can also mean that as hourly wages went up, the enrollment and number of children on CCAP went down. The small negative correlations do little to fully explain the presumed relationship between hourly wage and center size.

One of the primary functions of the survey is to calculate the mean and median hourly wage by region. CCR&R Service Delivery Areas (SDAs) are used here to define the word "region". The mean and median hourly wages earned by all IDCFS defined positions by SDA are presented in Table 33.

Table 33. Hourly wages by position by Service Delivery Area (SDA) (n = 3,093)

Position
Administrative Director Director/Teacher Early Childhood Teacher Early Childhood Assistant School-Age Worker School-Age Assistant
SDA Number with CCR&R Office Location Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Median n Mean Median n
1. Rockford $23.09 $19.00 9 $14.91 $13.66 10 $11.50 $11.25 78 $9.28 $8.75 38 $13.24 $11.12 12 $12.58 $9.50 3
2. DeKalb $22.12 $21.38 10 $13.32 $13.13 20 $10.58 $10.00 127 $9.43 $9.00 49 $8.96 $8.60 7
3. Gurnee $20.21 $20.34 10 $15.95 $15.00 21 $12.97 $11.83 42 $10.27 $9.93 26 $10.02 $10.00 3
4. Glendale Heights $20.65 $19.00 31 $16.55 $16.00 23 $13.48 $12.86 116 $10.45 $9.95 65 $12.83 $9.81 10 $8.71 $8.50 3
5. Joliet $20.09 $18.88 24 $14.18 $13.50 43 $11.89 $11.00 104 $10.34 $9.00 55
6. Chicago $22.00 $19.80 52 $15.84 $14.45 89 $15.27 $13.72 425 $10.98 $10.00 226 $12.64 $12.50 7 $12.19 $11.63 4
7. Davenport $17.85 $18.26 14 $12.16 $11.00 23 $11.05 $10.29 83 $9.62 $9.00 63
8. Peoria $15.19 $14.98 15 $11.99 $11.00 27 $10.19 $10.00 85 $8.85 $8.80 45 $10.40 $10.00 7 $10.00 $10.00 4
9. Bloomington $19.46 $19.34 7 $12.54 $11.78 43 $9.27 $9.10 19 $11.18 $9.50 5
10. Urbana $17.49 $14.22 10 $12.69 $11.25 17 $12.32 $11.52 132 $9.13 $8.75 51 $9.72 $9.38 12
11. Charleston $15.69 $12.50 5 $11.76 $12.01 4 $9.79 $9.75 35 $8.98 $8.97 16 $8.77 $8.75 3
12. Quincy $9.74 $9.50 5
13. Springfield $17.15 $17.00 10 $12.00 $12.54 10 $10.79 $10.00 66 $9.65 $9.00 33 $9.40 $9.46 5
14. Granite City $19.78 $21.00 23 $11.16 $10.00 27 $11.37 $9.78 133 $9.62 $9.24 86 $10.19 $9.76 14 $8.60 $8.50 5
15. Mt Vernon $16.00 $12.00 3 $9.97 $10.00 9 $9.93 $9.18 34 $8.77 $8.50 31
16. Carterville $24.15 $16.97 10 $15.45 $13.00 15 $11.48 $9.50 54 $11.21 $8.74 45 $8.50 $8.50 3

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

Several directors commented about the inadequate salaries offered to child care personnel.

  • Compensation in this field will never be a non-issue, so long as early care employees are classified as "laborers" rather than "professionals" at state and federal levels.
  • It is impossible to survive on the salary of the average child care worker. I understand that the only way child care workers can attain a higher wage is if higher fees were paid by the families and that is not a burden that can be placed on them.

Benefits

Directors where asked about the types of benefits available to their employees. For each employee, directors were asked to identify whether the benefit was partially or fully paid for by the center, was available through the center but paid for by the employee, or was not available through the center. As Table 34 shows, nearly 80 percent of responding centers offered paid holidays and vacation to its employees. Additionally, over two-thirds offered sick-leave. Over two-fifths of centers offered reduced/free child care to their employees (a 10 percent drop from the FY 2011 report) while about one-third of all centers offered educational stipends (a drop from 61.1 percent in 2011). 38 The majority of centers did not offer health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance or pensions.

Table 34. Benefits by availability and funding source

Benefit Benefit Paid by Center (Full/Partial) Employees Pay Benefit Benefit Not Provided n
Health Insurance 34.6% 6.4% 59.0% 2,993
Dental Insurance 23.0% 11.4% 65.6% 2,987
Life Insurance 25.6% 7.2% 67.3% 2,966
Pension 28.9% 8.7% 62.4% 2,981
Sick Leave 69.0% 1.6% 29.3% 3,108
Vacation 79.3% 1.8% 19.0% 3,095
Holidays 80.7% 1.2% 18.1% 3,145
Reduced/Free Child Care 42.4% 3.7% 54.0% 2,726
Educational Stipends 35.0% 3.5% 61.5% 2,854

Table should be read: "Out of the 2,993 employees for whom directors provided benefits information, 34.6 percent receive paid health insurance from their employer."

Employer-paid benefits were broken down by staff position and full-time versus part-time employee status. Table 35 shows the breakdown of employee benefits by full-time staff position, and Table 36 shows the breakdown of employee benefits by part-time staff position. Across all positions, centers offer employees paid sick leave, vacation and holidays more than other benefits.

Table 35. Percent of full-time staff who received (full/partial) benefits by position

Benefit Administrative Director Director/Teacher Teacher Assistant Teacher
Health Insurance 55.9% 34.4% 49.4% 41.0%
Dental Insurance 41.4% 26.9% 31.8% 24.1%
Life Insurance 46.2% 27.6% 36.6% 30.5%
Pension 45.5% 27.4% 35.0% 29.3%
Sick Leave 80.9% 70.0% 80.2% 77.7%
Vacation 93.3% 89.4% 94.9% 93.5%
Holidays 91.2% 88.6% 94.3% 94.2%
Reduced/Free Child Care 52.5% 54.4% 46.0% 47.4%
Educational Stipends 41.3% 30.4% 36.3% 31.9%

Table should be read: "Out of all full-time administrative directors for whom health insurance information was provided, 55.9 percent received health insurance paid by their employer."

A comparison of Tables 35 and 36 shows that for each employer-provided benefit, a smaller percentage of part-time employees received it than full-time employees except for educational stipends. Chi-square analyses conducted for each benefit indicated that part-time staff as a whole were significantly (p< .001) less likely to receive all benefits.

Table 36. Percent of part-time staff who received (full/partial) benefits by position

Benefit Administrative Director Director/Teacher Teacher Assistant Teacher
Health Insurance 28.1% 11.2% 21.3% 19.8%
Dental Insurance 12.5% 6.8% 13.3% 13.8%
Life Insurance 18.8% 9.6% 11.5% 14.0%
Pension 16.1% 14.2% 27.6% 22.2%
Sick Leave 58.1% 50.9% 62.9% 50.6%
Vacation 64.5% 49.2% 61.0% 58.2%
Holidays 81.3% 57.1% 67.4% 59.8%
Reduced/Free Child Care 36.7% 40.7% 35.3% 32.2%
Educational Stipends 35.5% 26.4% 42.2% 30.3%

Table should be read: "Out of all part-time administrative directors for whom health insurance information was provided, 28.1 percent received health insurance paid by their employer."

Overall, paid vacations and holidays were the most common benefits offered to employees regardless of employment status (at least 49.2 percent of part-time and 88.6 percent of full-time employees received these benefits). Additionally, over 50 percent of all full- and part-time employees received paid sick leave. Combining all employee positions, 45.9 percent of full-time personnel received health insurance benefits compared to 18.5 percent of part-time employees. Over 48 percent of full-time and 34 percent of part-time personnel received reduced/free child care. Regardless of employment status, over three out of every ten employees received educational stipends as part of their benefits package. The least offered benefits to all staff were dental and life insurance. On average, dental insurance was a covered benefit for less than one-third (30.4 percent) of full-time and a little over one-tenth (11.9 percent) of part-time employees; life insurance for only 35.0 percent of full-time and 11.7 percent of part-time employees. In addition, only three out of every ten full-time and two out of every ten part-time employees were offered a pension plan.

Many directors advocated the importance of benefits to professionals in the child care industry:

  • Health insurance is a huge issue. It is very difficult to provide the needed insurance for our small staff.
  • Health insurance and retirement plans are almost impossible to achieve.
  • Pay in child care is low but I do not believe that causes the lack of persons going into child care. Most people that go into child care do so because of their love for children. My biggest concern for employees is the lack of benefits that we are unable to provide such as paid health insurance.

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obama Care) began after the administration of the 2013 Salary and Staffing Survey, but many directors were expressing their hopes and concerns regarding this new law and its ability to provide benefits for their staff:

  •  Improving staff benefits for my staff is a priority but financially impossible at this time. I am in hopes that Obama Care provides some healthcare benefits that my staff can utilize.
  •  I am also concerned about effect of Obama Care Health Insurance requirements will have on Child Care Centers. It is already having an impact in my center for hiring temps and subs.

38 Professionalizing the early childhood field and workforce is supported by various state initiatives. Center-paid educational stipends help staff meet their IDCFS requirement of 15 training hours per calendar year as well as assist centers to meet qualifications for a QRS star level. Some educational opportunities can be reimbursed through Professional Development and Improvement Funds. Money is also available through the Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program to help child care practitioners meet their educational goals. It is unclear why such a decrease took place in the FY13 report.

Profile of Family Child Care Home Providers: Key Findings

A total of 9,615 IDCFS licensed family child care and group providers were invited to complete the FY 2013 Salary and Staffing Survey. A total of 1,605 surveys (for a response rate of 16.7 percent) were completed: 1,424 surveys were completed online; 181 were completed in the form of a paper document. Table 37 presents the response rates by CCR&R service delivery area (SDA) (see Appendix B).

There may be a discrepancy in the number of responses for each question because not all respondents answered every question. An "n" will be used to signify the number of responses to an item.

Completed Surveys

Table 37. Survey return rates by Service Delivery Area: Licensed Family Child Care Homes

Service Delivery Area CCR&R Main Office Location Providers Surveys Completed Percentage of Surveys Completed
SDA 1 Rockford 527 108 20.50%
SDA 2 DeKalb 474 101 21.30%
SDA 3 Gurnee 594 72 12.10%
SDA 4 Glendale Heights 443 90 20.30%
SDA 5 Joliet 549 81 14.80%
SDA 6 Chicago 3,665 554 15.10%
SDA 7 Davenport 383 66 17.20%
SDA 8 Peoria 311 49 15.80%
SDA 9 Bloomington 247 54 21.90%
SDA 10 Urbana 619 107 17.30%
SDA 11 Charleston 127 35 27.60%
SDA 12 Quincy 339 58 17.10%
SDA 13 Springfield 425 68 16.00%
SDA 14 Granite City 478 80 16.70%
SDA 15 Mt. Vernon 270 45 16.70%
SDA 16 Carterville 164 37 22.60%
Totals 9,615 1,605 16.70%

Demographics

Gender

Nearly all of the family child care practitioners who completed this item on the survey were female (99.4 percent; 1,298 of 1,306 respondents).

Age

Family child care practitioners were asked to identify their age. As seen in Table 38, the preponderance of respondents were 30 years or older. The most frequently reported range of age was 50-59 years. The least frequently reported range of age was "under 20 years" (IDCFS requires all "caregivers" in a day care home to be 18 or older) and was closely followed by the age range of 20-29 years of age. The category "60 years or over" accounted for 16.3 percent of all respondents.

Table 38. Respondents' age (n = 1,312)

Age Range* n Percentage
Under 20 years 0 0%
20-29 years 45 3.4%
30-39 years 236 18.0%
40-49 years 381 29.0%
50-59 years 436 33.2%
60 years or over 214 16.3%

*The question asked was "How old are you?"

Ethnicity

Practitioners were asked to self-identify their race/ethnicity. As Table 39 displays, 51.8 percent of family child care providers self-identified as "White", 31.3 percent as "African-American", and 13.6 percent self-identified as "Hispanic/Latino." When compared to population data in Illinois, African-Americans are over-represented among licensed family child care home practitioners and Latino-Hispanic providers are under-represented.39

Table 39. Respondents' race/ethnicity (n = 1,308)

Race/Ethnicity n Percentage
African-American 409 31.3%
Caucasian/White 678 51.8%
Hispanic/Latino 178 13.6%
Native American 1 0.1%
Asian/Pacific Islander 11 0.8%
Multi-Racial 18 1.4%
Other 13 1.0%

Respondents were also asked to identify their primary language. The majority of respondents (88.1 percent; n = 1,156) indicated that their primary language was English. As to the extent of other primary languages reported for the 11.9 percent of providers who spoke a language other than English, the primary language spoken was Spanish. Out of the 1,312 reporting providers, 10.7 percent (n = 140) indicated their primary language was Spanish, and 1.1 percent (n = 15) indicated their primary language was another language. The additional languages providers listed included Chinese, Polish, Russian, Hindi/Urdu, Bengali, French, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Ilocano, Yoruba, Guajarati, and Garifung.

39 According to 2012 data from the Census Bureau http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17000.html, 14.8 percent of the state population self-identified race/ethnicity as African-American and 16.3 percent of the state population self-identified race/ethnicity as Hispanic or Latino.

Experience

As a way of capturing longevity in family child care, practitioners were asked the length of time they had been paid to provide child care in their homes. The average length of time reported by providers was 13.4 years (n = 1,312; median = 12.0 years; range = 1 to 48 years).

There is often movement within the field of child care; therefore, practitioners were asked whether they were previously employed in other child care and education settings (i.e., child care center or public school). Out of the 1,318 responding practitioners, 30.6 percent (n = 403) had worked in another child care and education setting for an average of 6.7 years (median = 5.0 years; range = 1 to 35 years).

Education

Providers were also asked about the highest level of education they had completed. Table 40 displays the frequency of educational attainment by the licensed family child care providers participating in the FY13 Salary and Staffing Survey. (When referring to Table 40, please note: ECE = Early Childhood Education and CD = Child Development.)

Table 40. Respondents' education level (n = 1,533)

Educational Level n Percentage
Some High School 56 3.7%
High School Diploma/GED 411 26.8%
Child Development Associate 13 0.8%
Some college in ECE/CD*, no degree 371 24.2%
Some college in other field, no degree 46 3.0%
Approved Community College ECE Certificate 53 3.5%
Associate in ECE/CD 191 12.5%
Associate in other field 127 8.3%
Bachelor's in ECE/CD 54 3.5%
Bachelor's in other field 165 10.8%
Master's or higher in ECE/CD 12 0.8%
Master's or higher in other field 31 2.0%

*ECE is the acronym for Early Childhood Education; CD is the acronym for Child Development.

After January 1, 2011, all new licensed family child care providers were required to have proof of a high school diploma or an equivalent certificate. This mandate is waived for family child care providers already licensed prior to the first day of 2011. According to the survey, 3.7 percent of practitioners indicated that they had "some high school." Nearly 70 percent of respondents reported an education level beyond a high school diploma or GED; 20.8 percent reported they had an Associate degree, 14.3 percent indicated they had a Bachelor's degree, and 2.8 percent indicated that they had a Master's degree or higher. Out of 1,533 participants, 46 (3.0 percent) individuals stated that they had earned their Illinois State Board of Education Type 04 or 02 (early childhood) teaching certificate.40

Accreditation and Illinois Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) Status

Utilizing information in NACCRRAware, variables were created to indicate the accreditation and QRS status of family day care home providers who participated in the Salary and Staffing Survey. In FY 2013, 4.2 percent (n = 68) of family child care providers responding to the Salary and Staffing Survey were accredited through the National Association for Family Child Care Providers (NAFCC),41 the primary national accrediting body for family child care homes.

In addition, 5.9 percent (94 out of 1,605) of family child care providers responding to the Salary and Staffing Survey participated in the QRS Program:

  • 0.2 percent (n = 4) had earned a Star Level 1.
  • 0.8 percent (n = 13) had earned a Star Level 2.
  • 4.7 percent (n = 75) had earned a Star Level 3.
  • 0.1 percent (n = 2) had earned a Star Level 4.

According to the survey sample, participation in QRS was significantly associated with achievement of NAFCC Accreditation (X2 = 905.45, p< .001) such that 2.1 percent of non-accredited providers were also participating in QRS whereas 89.7 percent of NAFCC accredited providers were participating in QRS.

40 A Type 04 (early childhood) teaching certificate is granted by the Illinois State Board of Education to educators who have earned a BA degree in early childhood and passed all state exams and requirements to teach in a publicly funded program serving children birth through 8. A Type 02 certificate is the old ISBE early childhood teaching certificate which signified an individual was certified to teach pre-K - grade 3.

41 Per direct contact with NAFCC, there are 1,463 NAFCC Accredited providers and 209 (14.3 percent) are from Illinois.

Demographics of Children Served

Providers were asked to report upon the demographics of the children and families they serve. They were asked to estimate the number of children from each ethnic group and the number of second language learners in their care. Table 41 presents the mean proportions of children from each ethnic group reported by respondents.

Table 41: Demographics of children served by race/ethnicity (n = 1,308)

Child Race/Ethnicity n Mean Median Range
African-American 930 52.0% 55.0% 0-100%
Caucasian/White 1,111 71.2% 90.0% 0-100%
Hispanic/Latino 692 30.2% 9.0% 0-100%
Native American 408 0.6% 0.0% 0-33%
Asian/Pacific Islander 453 3.2% 0.0% 0-100%
Multi-Racial 604 9.4% 0.0% 0-100%
Other 373 2.8% 0.0% 0-100%

Practitioners were asked to report whether or not they had English language learners (ELL) enrolled in their programs. Of 1,603 respondents to this question, 16.7 percent (n = 267) indicated they had second language learners enrolled in their programs. Of those with ELLs, 82.8 percent (n= 221) reported having children whose primary language was Spanish as ELLs in their programs. Many other languages were represented in the sample, each with less than ten providers serving children who are ELL of a particular language such as: Chinese dialects, Korean, Vietnamese, Polish, Russian, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi/Urdu, Albanian, Italian, Serbian, Romanian, French, Lithuanian, Bosnian, Assyrian, Ukranian, Telegu, Mongolian, Nigerian, American Sign Language, and Bulgarian.

Professional Development

Program Awareness and Participation

Providers (n = 1,336) were asked about their awareness of and participation in professional development opportunities and programs available in Illinois.

  • Over 90 percent (92.0 percent; n = 1,229) knew of the Gateways to Opportunity Registry; a dramatic increase from the 58 percent reported last year.
  • Nearly 80 percent (79.1 percent; n = 1,057) knew of the Great START Program.
  • Three quarters of respondents (74.9 percent; n = 1,001) had heard of the Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program.
  • Almost 70 percent (67.4 percent; n = 901) knew of Gateways to Opportunity Credentials.
  • Over 40 percent (42.4 percent; n = 566) knew of the Professional Development Advisor Program.
  • Nearly 90 percent (87.9 percent; n = 1,175) knew of the Quality Counts Quality Rating System.
  • More than two-thirds of participants (69.8 percent; n = 933) had heard of the consultant/specialist (e.g. Mental Health Consultant, Child Care Nurse Consultant, QRS Specialist, Infant-toddler Specialist) services offered by the CCR&Rs.
  • 22.9 percent of family child care homes (n = 368 of 1,605) had at least one Great START recipient in the past two years. Those 368 programs had a total of 376 recipients.
  • 6.6 percent (n = 106 of 1,605) of family child care programs had at least one Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship participant for a total of 112 participants.

Training and Training Opportunities

Licensing standards require family child care practitioners to have a minimum of fifteen training hours per year. Generally, respondents exceeded this minimum. Family child care providers reported devoting 22.1 hours to workshops or conference training in the last year (n = 1,352; median = 16.0 hours; range = 0-220 hours).

The content of training can vary in its relevance to early care and education (ECE). Family child care providers were asked where they received their training within the past year. Table 42 reports the results. As with center staff, Child Care Resource and Referral workshops seem to be the principal source of training for family child care practitioners. Some providers also added in that they took online trainings through webinars or online courses to fulfill their required fifteen training hours per year.

Table 42. Sources of training (n = 1,383)

Training Sources n Percentage
Child Care Resource and Referral Workshops 1,130 81.70%
Local Community Workshops 581 42.00%
Professional Meeting or Conference Workshops 485 35.10%

Percentages add up to greater than 100 percent as respondents were asked to endorse all applicable items.

Over 80 percent (83.4 percent) of all respondents expressed that they thought there were adequate training opportunities offered; however, that does not mean that all providers are able to attend those training opportunities. In order to determine what might hinder an individual's ability to attend trainings, providers were presented with a list of potential barriers to attending trainings and were asked to select all that applied.

  • 31.5 percent (n = 505) selected: "Most opportunities are during the day so it is difficult for me to attend";
  • 28.0 percent (n = 450) selected: "I am unable to take time away from my work to take more training";
  • 18.0 percent (n = 289) chose: "My community doesn't have enough courses/workshops";
  • 17.3 percent (n = 277) selected: "I am unable to take time away from my family to take more training";
  • 16.9 percent (n = 272) selected the item: "Cost of training is too high";
  • 9.5 percent (n = 153) chose: "There is no reason to pursue more training"; and
  • 3.6 percent (n = 57) selected the item "Quality of training is not good."

One provider expressed their participation in the various Gateways programs:

  • "The Gateways and Scholarship programs helped to enhance my career. Without them I am not sure if I would have provided care these many years."

Additionally, 14.6 percent (n = 234) selected the "Other" option and specified the following items as barriers to attending trainings. Of the 234 providers that selected "Other", 43.4 percent indicated that the availability of trainings (location, timing of trainings, topic offerings, language barriers, and enrollment capacity) was problematic. The remaining providers provided personal opinions or experiences which detailed their problems in attending the required training hours. The majority of providers who selected "Other" were most concerned with the location of trainings, as many reported having to travel far distances to attend trainings.

Professional development is also available by taking coursework in early care and education at higher education institutions. Practitioners were posed the question, "Have you completed any ECE or CD coursework within the past two years?" Of the 1,535 practitioners who responded to this survey question, 230 (15.0 percent) reported "yes" and reported an average of 27.7 credit hours (median = 16.0 credit hours) completed in the last two years.

Capacity and Enrollment

One aim of the Salary and Staffing Survey is to characterize the care environment of family child care home practitioners. According to NACCRRAware, the average total license capacity of the sample was approximately 9.4 (median = 8.0) children. The average license capacity of all 9,615 family child care providers on the database was also approximately 9 children.42

During a typical week, providers cared for an average of 7.6 (n = 1,578; median = 7.0) children (excluding their own). Over 80 percent of providers (84.4 percent) indicated that they accept children whose families receive IDHS or IDCFS financial assistance. Providers also responded that they have an average of 5.3 (n = 1,051; median = 4.0) children in their program whose child care is being funded through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)43 or IDCFS vouchers. Providers reported serving an average of 4.3 of all client families (n = 962; median = 3.0) who receive financial assistance (from government, employers, local agencies) to subsidize child care costs.

A greater proportion of respondents participating in QRS also served CCAP families in their programs. Participation in QRS was significantly associated with serving CCAP families (X2 = 11.25, p< .001) with 96.8 percent of QRS participating providers serving CCAP families versus 3.2 percent of QRS rated providers not serving CCAP families in their programs.44

Family child care providers were also asked to rate the vacancies in their program on a scale from 1 ("There are always vacancies") to 5 ("There are never vacancies"). Out of 1,585 providers answering this question, 36.3 percent of family child care providers felt that there were rarely or never vacancies in their homes, 29.9 percent felt that there were sometimes vacancies, and 32.5 percent felt that there were always or often vacancies in their programs. Results from this survey when compared to the 2011 survey results, show a slight increase in the percentage of providers who felt there was "sometimes to always" vacancies in their programs, and correspondingly, a slight decrease in the percentage of providers who replied that they "never or rarely" had vacancies. The inconsistency in enrollment was expressed by many providers and is reflected in the following comment from a practitioner:

  • "...our numbers vary from day to day, most all of my families are part time. And families come and go... My numbers dropped after Christmas-I lost 6 of 8 kids and all were subsidized. Now I have 4 more and none are subsidized."

42 Licensed capacity in NACCRRAware adds regular capacity and extended capacity together. Extended capacity signifies the number of before- and after-school children a provider may care for on top of their regular capacity. For any capacity typically over 8, an assistant is required to be present.

43 About 21.4 percent of providers indicated that they accepted children/families on CCAP, but did not have any children on CCAP currently. For this analysis, those providers were excluded from the average.

44 Data derived from NACCRRAware was used to obtain the QRS status of all providers who participated in the Staffing and Salary Survey.

Assistants

IDCFS licensing requirement for staff in group homes and child care homes differ. Staff employed in group homes must have a high school diploma or equivalent and be at least 18 years of age if an on-site supervisor is present. If not, staff must be 21.45,46 Staff working in day care homes, are required to be at least 14 years of age, work under the direct supervision of the family child care provider and be at least five years older than any child for which they provide care.47

In the 2013 Salary and Staffing Survey group family child care practitioners and family child care practitioners reported on the assistants they employed. Of the 1,533 providers that responded to the question, 30.5 percent (n = 468) indicated hiring paid assistants. Additionally, out of 1,500 respondents, 29.0 percent (n = 435) reported using unpaid assistants.

Paid family child care assistants received an average of $9.39 per hour (n = 395; median = $9.00). Their typical work week averaged 26.2 hours (n = 421; median = 30.0).

There is a huge discrepancy in the range of hourly wages reported for assistants. Since a minor can work in a family day care, family child care providers can hire their own children. Although minimum wage for youths under the age of 18 is $7.45,48 providers can hire their eligible teenage children for less; however, with the exception of an employer's parent, spouse, or child, or other members of his or her immediate family, Minimum Wage Law requires an employer to pay an employee 18 years of age or older at least $8.25 per hour (minimum wage).49,50

Family child care practitioners were then asked to provide additional thoughts about staffing in the comments section of the survey. Two themes were identified: they could not afford to pay an assistant, and it was difficult to find an assistant. Below are some representative comments.

  • "Family child care providers most definitely need staff. But it is hard to find good people because it is hard to pay someone fairly for working 10 hours a day."
  • "It is not feasible for me to hire additional help because the increased number of children I could care for will not cover my expenses of paying an employee & their taxes. I also worry about having to pay health costs for that employee because of ObamaCare."
  • "It's hard for me to staff qualified teachers, when I am not making enough money to hire them. I would love for my assistant to have the same training and education as me but I can't afford to pay for their education."

45 From Part 403 IDCFS Licensing Requirements for Group Homes, part 403.18. All requirements can be found at http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/089/089004030000180R.html

46 For employees 18 and older, the Illinois Internal Revenue Service requires the employer to withhold federal income tax from the employee's paycheck plus the employers' portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes. From the Internal Revenue Website: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=172179,00.html

47 From Part 406 IDCFS Licensing Requirements for Day Care Homes, part 406.10. All requirements can be found at http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/089/08900406sections.html

48 From "State of Illinois - Department of Labor Hourly Minimum Wage Rates by Year", Illinois Department of Labor, http://www.state.il.us/agency/idol/News/PDFs/mw.pdf

49 From "Illinois Compiled Statutes (820 ILCS 105/) Minimum Wage Law", Illinois General Assembly, http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2400&ChapterID=68

50 Based on this rationale, all reported wages under $7.45 were excluded from this analysis.

Business Characteristics

Hours

Respondents (n = 1,298) indicated that they get paid to work an average of 53.1 hours per week (median = 52.0 hours) taking care of children, and their child care home operates an average of 49.3 weeks per year (n = 1,340; median = 51.0 weeks).

In addition to hours spent directly with children, providers reported spending an average of 16.4 hours per week (n = 1,337; median = 12.0 hours) on various activities performed before or after business hours. These activities include preparing food, shopping, cleaning, record keeping, and preparing educational activities for the children.

Practitioners were also asked whether they ever closed for holidays, vacation, sick days, training, or any other occasion. Out of 1,370 providers who responded 67.8 percent (n = 929) responded affirmatively. The average number of days closed per year was 11.3 days (median = 10.0 days, n = 619).51

Earnings and Operating Expenses

Practitioners were queried about their annual expenses for food, utilities, insurance, and materials; all expenses except wages. Average annual expenses totaled $15,349 (median = $12,000) for the 1,097 providers who responded to this question. Expenses in 2013 were slightly lower than the 2011 report (mean = $16,834; median = $12,000).

Licensed family child care providers were asked to report their gross and net annual earnings. The average annual gross earning was $32,232 (n = 1,230; median = $29,719). FY 2013 reported earnings are slightly higher than FY 2011, which reported average gross annual earnings of $29,800, with a median of $25,000. Reported annual net earnings (n = 1,146) averaged $13,995 (median = $13,000). In FY 2011, respondents reported average net earnings of $12,548, with a median of $11,085. In FY 2013,

  • 25 percent of family child care providers netted less than $7,000;
  • 50 percent of family child care providers netted less than $12,000; and
  • 75 percent of family child care providers netted less than $20,000.

In FY 2013, the hourly wage was $6.56 (compared to the state minimum wage of $8.25 per hour);52 however, this hourly wage only reflects the average length of time that direct service is provided to children. When the average hours spent cleaning, preparing food, shopping, recordkeeping, and preparing educational activities for children (16.4 hours) are factored into the equation, child care providers work on average 69.4 hours per week and average $4.59 per hour.

As independent business owners, family child care providers set their own rates. Rates can exceed the CCAP rates reimbursed by the state. Providers can choose to have parents pay the difference between the CCAP reimbursement rates and their private rates. In FY 2013, providers were asked to provide more information about their experience with the IDHS subsidy program. These questions specifically addressed whether providers charged parents more than their CCAP copays, the difficulty they experience in collecting copays, and whether or not the difficulty in collecting copays had changed in the past two years. Out of 157 respondents, 12.1 percent of providers (n = 19) reported charging families more than their CCAP copay, 87.9 percent (n = 138) of providers reported charging families their CCAP copay only.53 Out of 1,271 practitioners who rated the difficulty of collecting copays, 45.7 percent reported that collecting copays was "easy or somewhat easy," 15.7 percent responded that it was "neither easy nor difficult", and 38.6 percent responded that collecting copays was "somewhat difficult or very difficult." It is worth noting that there was a small increase in the percentage of providers indicating that it has been somewhat to very difficult to collect parent co-pays from 2011 (35.4 percent). In response to whether the difficulty in collecting copays had changed in the past two years, out of 1,255 respondents, 17.8 percent responded that collecting copays had become "much easier or somewhat easier", 57.1 percent responded the difficulty in collecting copays had "stayed about the same", and 25.1 percent responded that collecting copays had become "somewhat or much more difficult."

Providers were then asked to rate how their financial situation had changed in the past two years. In response to changes in their gross annual earnings, out of 1,342 providers responding to the question, 16.3 percent said their gross income had decreased greatly, 23.5 percent said their gross income had decreased somewhat, 35.7 percent stated their gross income remained about the same, 21.2 percent said their gross income had increased somewhat, and 3.2 percent responded that their gross income had increased greatly.

In response to changes about their net annual earnings, out of 1,349 providers, 17.8 percent said their net income had decreased greatly, 27.3 percent responded that their net income had decreased somewhat, 34.5 percent stated their net income had remained about the same, 18.9 percent responded that their net income had increased somewhat, and 1.5 percent responded that their net income had increased greatly.

When asked about changes in their annual expenses, out of 1,349 providers, 13.6 percent responded that their annual expenses had increased greatly, 39.1 percent stated their annual expenses had increased somewhat, 28.6 percent said their annual expenses remained about the same, 12.2 percent stated their annual expenses decreased somewhat, and 6.4 percent stated their annual expensed had decreased greatly.

51 Lower "n" compared to the FY 2011 report due to survey administration error.

52 The average hourly wage of a family child care practitioner can be calculated using the formula:

Average net income ÷ (average of hours worked per week X average number of weeks worked per year).

53 Lower "n" compared to the FY 2011 report due to survey administration error. 

Other Income Sources

Providers were asked to report on other sources of income beyond their family child care programs. Just under one tenth of providers (9.2 percent) reported having a second paid job. Over half of providers (52.7 percent) indicated there was at least one other adult who contributed to their household income (nearly 10 percent less than in 2011). In addition, the Child and Adult Food Care Program54 was an income source identified the majority of providers (73.2 percent; a 13 percent drop from 2011).

54The Child and Adult Care Food Program is a nutritional program funded through the USDA. In Illinois, this reimbursement program is administered by the Illinois State Board of Education. The program educates providers about proper nutrition and reimburses them for the meals and snacks they serve to children in care.

Fee Policies

Family child care homes are considered small businesses; therefore, fee policies are decided by the owner(s). As Table 43 shows, the majority of family child care providers chose to be paid when children are absent due to sickness. In addition, 61.6 percent of providers require parents to pay when the child care home is closed for holidays and 36.1 percent require payment when the home is closed for vacation days. Additionally, less than 50 percent (48.0 percent) of providers require parents to pay for days the child is on vacation. (It is important to note the prevalence of requiring payment when a child is on vacation or the family child care home is closed due to holidays or vacation days increased dramatically from 2011.) Moreover, the preponderance of providers do not require parents to pay for days when the family child care home is closed due to provider illness or workshop attendance. When day care homes are closed due to family emergencies, bereavement, jury duty, doctor appointments, personal days, or inclement weather, less than ten percent (9.1 percent) of family child care practitioners require parents to pay for these days. Although no questions specifically pertained to how providers construct their fee policies, the survey asked practitioners to record any additional thoughts they had about compensation in the field of child care. Some comments were:

  • "I've been doing home day care for 10 years and still feel too guilty to ask for even a couple paid vacation or sick days."
  • "My biggest issue is the need for vacation pay and time off. Parents have jobs with benefits for vacations and time off, but I don't."

Table 43. Fee policies

Provider is paid when… n Percentage
Children are absent because they are sick 1,396 63.6%
Children are on vacation 1,395 48.0%
You are closed for holidays 1,395 61.6%
You are closed for vacation days 1,394 36.1%
You are closed for sick days 1,394 22.9%
You are closed for training days 1,394 12.8%
Other reasons 1,391 9.1%

Note: Percentages add up to greater than 100 percent as respondents were asked to endorse all items applicable to their programs.

IDCFS requires family child care homes to have a written policy that describes what will occur if a child is picked-up late. This policy also includes information about any late fees that will accrue. Out of 1,396 practitioners who responded to this question, 47.0 percent charged a late-fee (or early drop-off fee). The fee for late pick up or early drop off averaged $2.12 (median = $1.00) per minute for family child care providers who stated their fee (n = 633).

Financial Assistance

Family child care practitioners were provided with a list of financial assistance resources and asked the question: "In the past two years, have you received any types of financial assistance?" A quarter (25.0 percent) of practitioners, up from roughly two-fifths (22.8 percent) in 2011, selected one or more of the financial assistance resources. Specifically:

  • 0.5 percent selected "TANF/AFDC";
  • 12.3 percent selected "Medicaid/Medicare for yourself";
  • 10.2 percent selected "Medicaid for your children";
  • 1.1 percent selected "Subsidized housing/Section 8";
  • 6.2 percent selected "Food stamps/SNAP";
  • 1.5 percent selected "FamilyCare for yourself"; and,
  • 7.7 percent selected "KidCare for your (child)ren".

Benefits

Practitioners were asked whether they were currently covered by any health insurance or medical plan. In response, 80.4 percent (n = 1,117 out of 1,605) of child care practitioners reported having health care coverage. Further breakdown shows that 15.3 percent received full coverage and 30.2 percent received partial coverage through their spouse's employer, 22.4 percent purchased health insurance on their own, and 14.7 percent reported that they were Medicaid/Medicare eligible. About one-sixth (15.6 percent) of respondents who had paid health care coverage received it through a variety of other sources, including as retirement benefits from previous employers, community health services, and through SEIU (union for family child care providers).

Over 50 percent (51.0 percent) of practitioners indicated that they contribute to Social Security and Medicare. When asked the question, "In the last year, have you set aside any savings for your retirement," barely a one-fifth of the respondents (22.1 percent) said they had (down from 25.9 percent in the 2011 report).

Per the comment section of the survey, many practitioners expressed anxiety about the lack of affordable health care insurance (including dental and vision care) available to child care providers and their families. In addition, many acknowledged the need for retirement benefits. One provider's remarks are shown below.

  • "The field of child care needs to have access to affordable health care and also retirement benefits. It is so difficult to stay in the field I love because it does not offer insurance or retirement. I don't know how or if I will get to retire. I have been doing daycare full time for the last 25 years. I returned to school to complete my BA in early childhood through the great start program which I loved...If I had been teaching in a public school for the last 25 years, instead of teaching children in my home, I would be able to retire soon, with a pension. There has been great emphasis placed on the importance of early childhood education, I wish the state would recognize the work child care providers have done and are doing for the children of our state by offering benefits."

Professional Support

Family child care practitioners often work alone and have no other adults within close proximity. Research suggests that the lack of "social, instrumental, and problem-solving support over a long workday as the only adult in the setting" and the lack of support when "having to play multiple roles" are potential sources of stress for providers. One way to combat that stress is to use support services such as participation in a professional organization or network with other professionals.55 Based on this rationale, providers were asked whether they had any contact with any other child care professionals. A predominance of home-based practitioners (70.5 percent) responding to the survey indicated that they have at least one other child care professional with whom they can discuss a problem in their program.

There are national, state, regional and local child care associations that support the needs of family child care providers. Half (50.0 percent; n = 660 of 1,321) of respondents reported that they were members of a child care association. Two-thirds (66.5 percent; n = 888 of 1,335) indicated that they utilized their Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) as a professional support in the past two years. Local CCR&R's provide various services to child care professionals.

55 Charlyn Harper Brown, "Strengthening Families: Almost Like Family: Family Child Care", Center for the Study of Social Policy, October 2009, http://www.cssp.org/publications/neighborhood-investment/strengthening-families/top-five/almost-like-family-family-child-care-october-2009.pdf

Turnover

Practitioners were asked to identify the length of time they would continue to operate their day care home. Over half (55.0 percent; n = 882) of providers responded "I don't know." The remainder of providers (n = 454) indicated they would continue to provide child care in their homes for an average of slightly over ten years (mean = 10.4 years; median = 10.0 years).

To gauge potential turnover, providers were asked the question, "In the past two years, have you ever considered no longer providing care?" Thirty-six percent (n = 480 of 1,328) had considered closing their business. Respondents who answered "yes" to that question were asked to further clarify by responding to a follow-up question which contained a list of reasons that traditionally contribute to provider burn-out. Practitioners were asked to rate the importance of each item on a scale of 1 ("Not important") to 5 ("Very important"). Table 44 presents the reasons why a provider may discontinue care and various statistics for each reason.

Table 44: Reasons providers considered for no longer providing care

Reason Mean Median n Percentage Rating Item as "Very Important"
Dissatisfied with salary 3.9 4.0 510 45.9%
Dissatisfied with benefits 4.0 5.0 509 55.6%
Returning to school 2.3 2.0 509 16.9%
Working hours are too long 3.6 4.0 508 38.8%
Not enough work hours 1.9 1.0 506 10.7%
Enrollments are too low 3.3 3.0 511 35.6%
Enrollments are too high 2.1 1.0 500 8.0%
Frustration with parents 3.3 3.0 505 28.7%
Too little respect for child care providers 3.8 4.0 509 45.4%
Moving/relocating 2.2 1.0 503 13.3%
Health problems 1.8 1.0 501 9.4%
Too much stress 3.3 3.0 505 29.1%
Too little time off 3.7 4.0 504 40.3%
Isolation 2.9 3.0 503 20.7%
Retirement 3.5 4.0 508 43.7%
Other personal reasons 2.8 3.0 488 24.8%

According to Table 44, "dissatisfaction with salary," "dissatisfaction with benefits," and "too little respect for child care practitioners" were the three primary reasons instigating turnover in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary of a child care worker was the eighth lowest out of 31 occupations listed under the category Personal Care and Service Occupations. Only locker room, coatroom and dressing room attendants, personal care aides, amusement and recreation attendants, shampooers, ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers, motion picture projectionists, entertainment attendants (and all others), and nonfarm animal caretakers made less.56 One significant difference from the 2011 report is the frequency of providers indicating "Retirement" as a very important reason for discontinuing care. This percentage increased over 14 percent from the previous report. Dissatisfaction with salary has real consequences as demonstrated in the comment below.

  •  "As a home day care provider our salary (net) intake after expenses can be difficult as a single mother and one salary in the household. As much as I enjoy providing care for my families this work is very stressful and underpaid. I continue to do this, but there are times when I am very stressed and overworked."

Practitioners were asked to rate on a scale of 1 ("Not important") to 5 ("Very important") a number of items that might influence them to continue providing child care in their homes. Participants rated higher pay and better benefits as the main factors that would most entice them to continue providing child care. "More time off" was also rated as "very important" to more than half of all respondents (mean = 3.9). (Again, family child care homes are only closed an average of 11.3 days per year.) Table 45 displays the results.

Table 45: Reasons to continue offering care

Reason Mean Median n Percentage Rating Item as "Very Important"
Help with problem solving 3.0 3.0 504 27.4%
More contact with other providers 2.7 3.0 504 19.2%
Help finding substitute caregivers 3.1 3.0 503 27.8%
Being part of a professional organization 2.7 3.0 506 19.2%
Family child care training 3.0 3.0 506 25.7%
Lower enrollments 2.2 1.0 501 12.4%
Higher enrollments 3.2 3.0 510 34.1%
Higher pay 4.2 5.0 509 61.1%
Better benefits1 4.2 5.0 440 64.5%
More time off 3.9 5.0 506 52.8%
More work hours 2.0 1.0 500 8.4%

1Lower "n" due to survey administration error

In order to assess turnover rate, the total number of family child care providers listed in the provider database on June 30, 2011 (the end of IDHS's fiscal year) was compared to the number of providers listed in the same database on June 30, 2013. Through comparison of both databases, data could be collected regarding the number of providers who were new on the database and the number of providers no longer providing child care. Table 46 presents the information.

56"Occupation Employment Statistics: May 2012 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for Illinois", Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_il.htm#00-0000

Table 46. Provider turnover 2011-2013: Licensed Family Child Care Homes

Active 2011 Still Active 2013 Percent Change New Providers 2013 Percent Change Active 2013 Percent Change
Active Providers 10,183 8,174 -19.7% 1,289 +15.8% 9,463 -7.1%
Total Licensed Capacity 92,587 77,746 -16.0% 10,317 +13.3% 88,063 -4.9%

Motivations and Perceptions about Providing Child Care

In order to grasp what motivates family child care practitioners to provide child care in their home and capture their perceptions about their work, they were given a series of statements and asked to rate each statement on a scale of 1 ("Strongly disagree") to 5 ("Strongly agree"). Some of the statements focused on motivation and others on perception. As Table 47 reveals, practitioners reported several factors that motivated them to be in the child care business. The most enthusiastically endorsed (rated as "Strongly agree" by more than 60 percent of the respondents) were: "Enjoy teaching children" and "Like to be in business for self." The least common motivator was "Stay at home with own children" (which still received a rating of "Strongly agree" by over almost a quarter of the respondents).

Table 47. Reasons for providing child care

Reason Mean Median n Percentage Rating Item as "Strongly agree"
Enjoy teaching children 4.6 5.0 1,320 64.1%
Like to be in business for self 4.5 5.0 1,319 63.0%
Earn an income 4.1 4.0 1,146 38.7%
Stay at home with own children 3.1 3.0 1,316 24.2%

Table 48 reflects the responses to questions that pertain to a practitioner's perceptions about their work. The mean and median, number of respondents, and the percentage of respondents who rated the statement as a 5 ("Strongly agree") are presented in the table below. Perceptions most highly embraced by providers revolved around their sense of professionalism in the job. Most respondents considered themselves to be early childhood professionals, small business owners, and their own boss. They also recognized the role that training plays in furthering and maintaining their status as a professional.

Table 48. Perceptions about providing child care

Perception Mean Median n Percentage Rating Item as "Strongly agree"
I consider myself an early childhood professional 4.2 4.0 1,314 46.5%
I consider myself a small business owner 4.5 5.0 1,318 61.4%
I do not provide child care for the money 3.1 3.0 1,313 16.9%
Getting more training helps me become more professional 4.2 4.0 1,318 46.1%
I can set my own rates and policies 3.7 4.0 1,317 29.3%

Providers were asked to respond to the question, "In the past two years, have opportunities for family child care providers become better, stayed the same, or become worse." Out of 1,315 respondents, over half (54.0 percent) replied that opportunities over the past two years had "stayed the same", 22.7 percent indicated they had become better, and 23.3 percent responded that opportunities had become worse.

Practitioners who felt that opportunities for family child care providers have gotten worse observed:

  • "Finding replacements for children who leave has been a continuing problem for several years. I think because so many people are unemployed, parents are choosing to leave their children with an out-of-work friend or relative who will accept less money for their service."
  • "Parental situations and demands have become more difficult to meet along with the rising cost of food, supplies, maintaining a household and transportation have made conditions of providing home child care worse."

Practitioners who felt that opportunities for family child care providers had gotten better focused solely on support, resources, and training opportunities.

  • "I believe opportunities have become better because the government has been diligent in providing the funds for providers to continue receiving our wage increase. Family Childcare Providers are still able to attend free or low cost workshops and conferences that are greatly needed. I am personally grateful for INCCRRA because as a licensed provider I am always striving to enhance my program and INCCRRA rewards providers for doing so."
  • "There are more opportunities to improve the quality of care we can provide. It is becoming a more recognized profession not just babysitting. There has been more done to make the public more aware of what it means to be a licensed provider and what it involves and its importance to parents."

Providers offered a plethora of other comments which reflected the issues they were facing in their child care programs. Some focused on the practitioner's perceptions and feelings towards the parents in their programs. Other comments voiced concerns about the rules and regulations that must be complied with in order to maintain a day care home license (conversely, some providers claimed the rules were not strict enough and were not adequately enforced). Some of the practitioners voiced concern over unlicensed or "illegal" day care homes that exist and its impact on their business. Moreover, many expressed the difficulties they have had due to the state of the economy with many parents unemployed and not needing child care services. Many practitioners shared the various financial difficulties they experienced due to later payments from the state or late payments from parents. A majority expressed their frustration at the amount of reimbursement a provider receives for the type of work performed. And some commented about the way the profession is still seen by some of the public as in the example below.

  • "Too many parents look at daycare as an institution of babysitting and not an institution of professionalism and education."

Despite the frustrations family child care providers may face, there were many comments describing their passion and love for early care and education and the children for which they care.

  • "I think that we are under paid for the services that we provide, therefore you have to love what you do. I love teaching children."
  • "When I first started my day care I did it because it taught my children to share with others. Then it turned into a family for our family. Finally, after a few years, I felt like I was really making a difference in the lives of children. So many people, 'When are you going to get a real job?' But, when I started to take pride in what I was doing it all felt right and didn't feel like a job."

Conclusion

Child care is a vital foundational service that allows for employment and economic betterment for families. Without affordable quality care options, parents are less likely to effectively function at their jobs and children to receive the developmentally stimulating environments proven to benefit young children. Research has shown high quality child care contributes to young children's social competence and cognitive development.57 A nurturing and stable relationship with a provider is one important component of high quality care settings. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the education and stability of the child care workforce are critical to the well-being of children and their working parents. Young children have much to gain from a well-educated and stable child care workforce; however, Child Care Aware of America (formerly NACCRRA) asserts that the minimal requirements for education (many states do not require any education beyond high school) and the high turnover rate among child care practitioners (roughly one-third leave the field each year58), is challenging the opportunity for quality child care to be achieved and maintained. In knowing the importance of education and continuity in the care of children, it is important to learn more about the child care workforce within the state of Illinois as a means of ensuring quality care for all children. Additionally, as the economy begins recovering from a debilitating recession, data is needed to inform the judicious distribution of resources that support child care providers and families. As such, the Illinois Salary and Staffing Survey provides in-depth information every two years about wages, salaries and benefits, and other information pertinent to the child care work environment in licensed child care centers and in licensed family child care homes.

The majority of the child care workforce in Illinois has attained formal education beyond high school. Most practitioners in centers and homes had some college education. In addition, almost 75 percent (74.4 percent) of early childhood teachers and 37.9 percent of family child care practitioners had earned an associate, bachelor, or master's degree. Further, 46.4 percent of early childhood teachers earned their degree in early childhood education (ECE) or child development (CD), and 16.8 percent of family day care providers earned their degree in ECE/CD.

As is the case at the national level, job turnover among child care providers in Illinois is a continuing problem. The past two years showed a turnover rate of 26.0 percent for early childhood teachers and a 33.1 percent turnover rate for early childhood teacher assistants. The primary reason reported for early childhood teacher departure was "dissatisfied with pay"; which is consistent when compared to the predominant reasons cited in past surveys (with the exception of FY11). Other principle reasons reported for staff departure included dissatisfaction with benefits, found a new job either in another center, a public school, or in another field, and terminated or fired. As many of these reasons were endorsed at a similar rate by directors, it suggests that the reasons for turnover are usually complicated, especially since many directors also rated each reason for leaving by indicating there was a "personal reason" associated with the staff departure. Since data for this survey are gathered from directors or other administrative staff and not the departing staff member, having staff directly respond with their reasons for leaving might yield richer findings.

In the past two years, 36.0 percent of family child care practitioners considered closing their child care home; one in five did. Dissatisfaction with salary and benefits, and "too little respect for child care providers" were the predominant reasons reported.

When it comes to compensation, patterns of compensation for center positions were varied. Director/teachers saw a decline in their hourly wages from 2011. On the other hand, administrative directors, early childhood teachers, early childhood assistants, school-age teachers, and school-age assistants saw their hourly wages increase. Nonetheless, the increases in hourly wages were either completely or partially nullified by the 2.2 percent rate of inflation.

The median hourly wage for an early childhood teacher in 2013 was $11.04, down from $11.50 in in 2011; up from $11.00 in 2009; and down from $12.00 in 2007. Assuming a full-time early childhood teacher position equals 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, gross annual salary would equal $22,963. This represents almost twice the median net earnings of licensed family child care providers whose 2013 reported earnings were only $13,000, up from $11,085 in 2011, $11,000 in 2009, and $12,000 in 2007.

Wages differed substantially in centers around the state. Early childhood teachers employed in Carterville (located in southern Illinois) earned a median hourly wage of $9.50 per hour compared to early childhood teachers in Glendale Heights (located in northern Illinois) who earned a median hourly wage of $12.86 (a difference of over $3.00 per hour). Early childhood teachers earned higher hourly wages in not-for-profit programs than for-profit programs. Additionally, part-year/part-time early childhood teachers earned more than full-year/full-time teachers. Level of education also mattered as teachers with more education, earned more than those without degrees. Moreover, teachers who majored in early childhood education (ECE) or child development (CD) and obtained an Associate, Bachelor, or Master's degree, earned more than teachers with a degree in another field.

In addition to the low wages of the child care workforce, the benefits are also meager. Although at least 70 percent of center staff were reported to receive paid vacation, holidays and sick leave, barely one-third received health insurance, dental insurance or a pension plan. Life insurance was also rare, received by approximately one in four employees. Whereas, centers may provide benefits to employees as part of their compensation, family child care practitioners must pay for their own. Although 80.4 percent of family child care providers were covered by a health plan, many received coverage through their spouse's employer. For those without insurance, benefits are modest for family child care providers who reported being closed only a median of ten days per year. While 61.6 percent charged when closed for holidays, only 36.1 percent charged when closed for vacation. Substantially fewer charged when closed for sick days or training days. Providers indicated that they did not charge when closed because, they were sensitive to their clients' financial situations and they did not think their clients would pay.

As in past Salary and Staffing Surveys, low wages and poor benefits were voiced to be a major concern by all survey respondents. Aside from the obvious financial stress these factors create for providers, they underscore a lack of value and respect for the child care labor force. These dynamics continue to be a driving force for turnover in the child care field. Throughout the survey, while providers and administrators repeatedly described their love of and dedication to children and their development, they also admitted that they need to make a living. In the end, many expressed pessimism about the child care field and a plea for help to supplement income, educate parents, and provide benefits. If these survey results and comments have any predictive value, it may be to forecast a continuing ambivalence toward the profession among practitioners at all levels of the child care workforce.

In spite of these somber findings, survey results also indicate there are some reasons for optimism. The frequency of directors and family child care providers who are aware of Gateways to Opportunity programs and other support programs suggests that there is more awareness of the resources and options that some centers and providers are able to access that provides some compensation for lower wages and benefits in the field of child care.

Several statewide programs support provider education and help reduce turnover. Survey respondents acknowledged these to be valuable supports to the child care field. The Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program awards partial college scholarships for both center and family child care practitioners to further their education in early childhood or school-age care. The Great START wage supplement program offers a stipend every six months to center and home-based providers based on their educational achievements (as long as they remain at their present place of employment). The Quality Counts Quality Rating System enhances the income of programs which provide care to CCAP enrolled children by providing a supplemental add-on to the CCAP reimbursement rate. Participating programs also receive support and recognition for their commitment to providing quality child care. Another program, the Professional Development Advisor (PDA) Program, is an example of a systematic effort to reach out to providers and positively impact professional development. A recent evaluation demonstrated that the program contributes to more qualified child care practitioners by helping them reach professional objectives. As in years past, access to professional development opportunities does not seem to be a barrier to remaining in the field.

Such programs can help improve the compensation possibilities of practitioners, thus leading to lower turnover and ultimately higher quality of child care in Illinois.

57 D. Vandell, J. Belsky, M. Burchinal, N. Vandergrift, & L. Steinberg. "Do effects of early child care extend to age 15 years? Results from the NICHD study of early child care and youth development." Child Development, 2010, http://nieer.org/pdf/Effects_of_Early_Child_Care_Extend_to_Age_15.pdf

58 Meredith MacMillian, "NAEYC calls for fair compensation for the early childhood workforce on worthy wage day." National Association for the Education of Young Children, May 1, 2012, http://www.naeyc.org/newsroom/pressreleases/worthy_wage_day

Appendices