CLASP advocates for high-quality employment programs for recipients of work support programs, informed by understanding of both the labor market and the circumstances of recipients, and provides technical assistance to states and localities on how to operate such programs within the framework of the federal programs.
Recommendation: Establish a core body of knowledge, skills, and expertise that providers and caregivers need in order to give babies and toddlers quality care, based on current research on social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development.
Recommendation: Ensure access to specialized professional development for providers working with infants and toddlers, including participation in higher education programs, community-level training, ongoing individualized consultations, and access to appropriate information and supports for caregivers, so that those who care for infants and toddlers in all settings understand and implement a core body of knowledge and skills.
Recommendation: Promote competitive compensation linked to education and experience, as well as health care benefits, to attract and retain highly skilled infant and toddler providers.
What policies can states use to move toward this recommendation?
To move toward this recommendation, states may use multiple policy levers, starting from different points. Potential state policies include the following:
Recommendation: Ensure the diversity and cultural competence of infant and toddler providers and caregivers in order to meet the needs of the state's children under three and their families.
Recommendation: Ensure that infants in center-based programs are cared for in groups no larger than six, with ratios of one child care provider to no more than three infants, and that toddlers are cared for in groups no larger than eight, with ratios of one provider to no more than four toddlers.
Recommendation: Ensure that no more than two children under age 2 be cared for by a family child care provider at one time, and that group size not exceed six children (including all children related to the provider).
Recommendation: Ensure that state licensing rules require practices and training that protect the safety of infants and toddlers--by addressing physical environments, safe sleep practices, bathing, and accident prevention--and promote infant/toddler health and well-being (including areas such as hand-washing, holding, feeding, comforting, diapering, and providing responsive caregiving).
Recommendation: Conduct routine monitoring of infant and toddler child care in centers and family child care settings at least twice a year, provide technical assistance to help providers with licensing compliance, and use information on provider compliance to inform parents and ensure ongoing improvements in monitoring systems and child care quality.