Licensing and Public Regulation of Early Childhood Programs
One of the most dramatic changes in American family life in recent
years has been the increased participation of young children in
nonparental child care and early education settings. Between 1970
and 1993 the percentage of children regularly attending these types
of arrangements soared from 30% to 70% (U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services). Much of the demand comes from the need for
child care that has accompanied the rapid rise in maternal labor
force participation. Increased demand for early childhood care
and education services also comes from families who--regardless of
parents' employment status--want their children to experience the
social and educational enrichment provided by good early childhood
Families seeking nonparental arrangements choose among a variety
of options: centers (for groups of children in a
nonresidential setting), small family child care homes (for 6
or fewer children in the home of the care provider), large family
or group child care homes (typically for no more than 7 to 12
children in the home of a care provider who employs a full-time
assistant), in-home care (by a nonrelative in the family
home), and kith and kin care (provided by a relative, neighbor
or friend to children of one family only).
The responsibility to ensure that any and all of these settings
protect and nurture the children in their care is shared among many
groups. Families are ultimately responsible for making informed
choices about the specific programs that are most appropriate for
their own children. Early childhood professionals and others engaged
in providing or supporting early childhood services have an ethical
obligation to uphold high standards of practice. Others within the
community, including employers and community organizations, who
benefit when children and families have access to high-quality early
childhood programs--also share in the responsibility to improve the
quality and availability of early childhood services. Government
serves a number of important roles, including
- licensing and otherwise regulating so as to define and
enforce minimum requirements for the legal operation of programs
available to the public;
- funding programs and supporting infrastructure, including
professional development and supply-building activities;
- providing financial assistance to help families with
- supporting research and development related to child
development and learning and early childhood programs as well as
data-gathering for community planning; and
- disseminating information to inform consumers, service
providers, and the public about ways to promote children's
healthy development and learning, both at home and in
While many of these functions can and should occur at multiple
levels of government, the licensing function is established by laws
passed by state legislatures, creating offices that traditionally
play the primary role in regulating the child care market by defining
requirements for legal operation. States vary considerably in the
methods and scope of regulation, using processes that may be called
licensing, registration, or certification. These terms can have
different meanings from state to state.
The importance of an effective system of public regulation
The primary benefit from public regulation of the child care and
early education market is its help in ensuring children's rights to
care settings that protect them from harm and promote their healthy
development. The importance of these rights is underscored by a
growing body of research evidence that emphasizes the importance of
children's earliest experiences to their development and later
learning (Hart & Risley 1995; Center for the Future of Children
1995; Bredekamp & Copple 1997; Kagan & Cohen 1997). Emerging
research on brain development indicates that the degree of responsive
caregiving that children receive as infants and toddlers positively
affects the connections between neurons in the brain, the
architecture of the brain itself (Newberger 1997; Shore 1997). Given
the proportion of children who spend significant portions of their
day in settings outside their family, ensuring that these
environments promote healthy development becomes increasingly
Research documents that those states with more effective
regulatory structures have a greater supply of higher quality
programs (Phillips, Howes, & Whitebook 1992; Helburn et al. 1995).
Additionally, in such states differences in quality are minimized
between service sectors (e.g., nonprofit and proprietary programs)
(Kagan & Newton 1989).
Children who attend higher quality programs consistently
demonstrate better outcomes. These differences are apparent in many
areas: cognitive functioning and intellectual development
(Lazar et al. 1982; Clarke-Stewart & Gruber 1984; Goelman &
Pence 1987; Burchinal, Lee, & Ramey 1989; Epstein 1993; Helburn
et al. 1995; Peisner-Feinberg & Burchinal 1997); language
development (McCartney 1984; Whitebook, Howes, & Phillips
1989; Peisner-Feinberg & Burchinal 1997); and social
development (McCartney 1982; Clarke-Stewart 1987; Howes 1988;
Whitebook, Howes, & Phillips 1989; Peisner-Feinberg &
Burchinal 1997). The demonstrated outcomes appear in cross-sectional
studies conducted at a specific point in time as well as in
longitudinal studies over time (Carew 1980; Howes 1988; Vandell,
Henderson & Wilson 1988; Howes 1990; Schweinhart, Barnes, &
Weikart with Barnett & Epstein 1993; Barnett 1995). The
differences in outcomes occur even when other family variables are
controlled for, including maternal education and family income level
(Helburn et al. 1995; NICHD 1997).
Research is also consistent in identifying the structural factors
most related to high quality in early childhood programs:
- small groups of children with a sufficient number of adults to
provide sensitive, responsive caregiving;
- higher levels of general education and specialized preparation
for caregivers or teachers as well as program administrators; and
- higher rates of compensation and lower rates of turnover for
program personnel (Whitebook, Howes, & Phillips 1989; Hayes,
Palmer, & Zaslow 1990; Galinsky et al. 1994; Helburn et al.
1995; Kagan & Cohen 1997; Whitebook, Sakai, & Howes 1997).
Many of these factors can be regulated directly or influenced by
Despite widespread knowledge of what is needed to provide good
quality in early childhood programs, many programs fail to do so.
Two large-scale studies of licensed centers and family child care
homes found that only about 10 to 15% of the settings offered care
that promoted children's healthy development and learning. For
infants and toddlers, the situation is grave: as many as 35 to 40% of
the settings were found to be inadequate and potentially harmful to
children's healthy development (Galinsky et al. 1994; Helburn et al. 1995).
Support for an effective licensing system falls short
An effective licensing system minimizes the potential for harmful
care, but regulatory systems in many states receive inadequate
support to fully protect children's healthy development and learning.
The lack of support can be seen in five broad areas: (1) some states
set their basic floor of protection too low, failing to reflect
research findings about the factors that create risk of harm; (2) a
large number of settings in some states are exempt from regulation;
(3) the licensing office in some states is not empowered to
adequately enforce the rules; (4) multiple regulatory systems may
apply to individual programs, sometimes with resulting overlapping or
even contradictory requirements; and (5) policymakers may view
licensing as unnecessary because they believe it seeks the ideal or
imposes an elitist definition of quality rather than establishing a
baseline of protection. Each of these issues is discussed briefly
- Some states set their basic floor of protection too low,
with licensing rules that fail to reflect research findings about
the factors that promote or hinder children's healthy development.
Clear links exist between the quality of early childhood programs
in child care centers and homes and the quality of the public
regulatory systems governing these services. The overall quality
level of services provided to children is not only higher in
states with more stringent licensing systems (Phillips, Howes,
& Whitebook 1992; Helburn et al. 1995), but also demonstrable
improvements can be seen in program quality in states that have
worked to improve aspects of their licensing processes (Howes,
Kontos, & Galinsky 1995). Despite such compelling evidence
as to the importance of strong licensing systems, a 1997 study
looking at grouping, staff qualifications, and program
requirements found that "the majority of states' child care
regulations do not meet basic standards of acceptable/appropriate
practice that assure the safe and healthy development of very
young children." (Young, Marsland, & Zigler in press).
Similar findings also have been reported on licensing standards
for the care of four-year-olds (Snow, Teleki, &
- A large number of settings in some states are exempt from
regulation. Many children are unprotected because they
receive care outside their families in programs that are legally
exempt from regulation. Exemptions affect both centers and family
child care homes. Among centers the most common licensing
exemptions are for part-day programs (roughly half of the states)
and programs operated by religious institutions (nine states)
(Children's Foundation 1997). Programs operated by or in public
schools are sometimes exempt from licensing, although in some
cases public school programs must meet comparable regulatory
standards. Many states exempt family child care providers from
regulation if they care for fewer children than stipulated as the
threshold for regulation. About half of the states set such a
threshold that ranges from 4 to 13 children (Child Care Law
- States do not always provide the licensing office with
sufficient funding and power to effectively enforce licensing
rules. A 1992 report found that "many states face
difficulties protecting children from care that does not meet
minimum safety and health standards" (U.S. General
Accounting Office, p. 3). According to the report, staffing and
budget cuts forced many states to reduce on-site monitoring, a
key oversight activity for effective enforcement. These cutbacks
occurred during a time of tremendous growth in the number of
centers and family child care homes. The number of centers is
estimated to have tripled between the mid 1970s and early 1990s,
while the number of children enrolled quadrupled (Willer et al.
1991). An indicator of the growth in the number of regulated
family child care providers is found in the recorded increase in
the number of home-based participants in the USDA Child and
Adult Care Food Program (regulation being a requirement of
participation) from 82,000 in 1986 to nearly 200,000 in 1996
Lack of meaningful sanctions makes enforcement of existing
regulations difficult (Gormley 1997). Licensing offices in all
states have the power to revoke licenses, but some states have a
much broader range of enforcement tools. Others lack funding to
adequately train licensing personnel and fail to receive
appropriate legal backup for effective enforcement.
Although most states require that a facility license be
prominently posted, many states do not require prominently
posting or public printing of violation notices when facilities
fail inspections. Information about licensing violations is only
available in some states by checking the files in the state
licensing office (Scurria 1994). The high demand for child care
and early education services can exert pressures to keep even
inadequate facilities open (Gormley 1995).
- Multiple regulatory layers exist, sometimes with
overlapping or even contradictory requirements.
Different laws have created different inspection systems for
different reasons, all affecting child care programs. Programs
typically must comply with local zoning, building and fire
safety, and health and sanitation codes in addition to licensing.
A lack of coordination of requirements can frustrate new and
existing providers and undermine the overall effectiveness of the
regulatory system. For example, state and local regulatory
structures sometimes impose contradictory requirements on family
child care providers (Gormley 1995). If providers react by
"going underground," children suffer.
- Policymakers may view licensing as unnecessary because they
believe it seeks the ideal or an elitist definition of quality
rather than establish a baseline of protection. By
definition, licensing rules represent the most basic level of
protection for children. Licensing constitutes official
permission to operate a center or family child care home; without
this permission, the facility is operating illegally. Licensing
rules, combined with other regulatory requirements, such as
environmental health codes, zoning provisions, and building and
fire safety codes, define the floor for acceptable care
that all child care programs must meet. In the current
deregulatory climate, efforts to improve licensing rules and
provide better basic protections for children's healthy
development have sometimes been misrepresented as attempts to
impose a "Cadillac" or ideal quality child care that
is too costly and unrealistic for all programs to achieve. When
such misrepresentations succeed, the floor or safety net that
licensing provides to protect children in out-of-family care is
Drawing upon a conceptual framework first espoused by Norris
Class (1969), Morgan distinguishes multiple levels of standards
needed to achieve quality in early childhood programs (1996).
As the strongest of governmental interventions, licensing must
rest on a basis of the prevention of harm. Other regulatory
methods, including approval of publicly operated programs, fiscal
control and rate setting, credentialing and accreditation,
provide additional mechanisms that, building upon the basic floor
of licensing, can encourage programs to achieve higher standards.
Nonregulatory methods can also promote higher quality services:
for example, public and consumer awareness and engagement,
professional development of teachers/caregivers and
administrators, networking and information sharing among
professionals, and dissemination regarding best practices. These
standards can interact and be dynamic. For example, licensing
rules can reference credentialing standards, or fiscal regulation
can reflect higher rates for accredited programs. Also, greater
knowledge of the importance of various factors in preventing harm
to children's healthy development and learning can result in
changes in licensing rules so as to raise the level of basic
protection over time.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children
(NAEYC) affirms the responsibility of states to license and regulate
the early care and education market by regulating centers, schools,
and family and group child care homes. The fundamental purpose of
public regulation is to protect children from harm, not only threats
to their immediate physical health and safety but also threats of
long-term developmental impairment.
NAEYC recommends that states continue to adopt and improve
requirements that establish a basic floor of protection below which
no center, school, or family child care or group home may legally
operate. Basic protections should, at a minimum, protect children by
striving to prevent the risk of the spread of disease, fire in
buildings as well as other structural safety hazards, personal
injury, child abuse or neglect, and developmental impairment.
Licensing rules should be coordinated statewide and streamlined
to focus on those aspects that research and practice most clearly
demonstrate as reducing these types of harm. Licensing rules and
procedures should be developed in a context that recognizes other
strategies and policies that encourage all programs to strive
continuously for higher standards of quality. Such strategies and
policies include application of levels of funding standards and rates
for the public purchase of or operation of services; maintenance of
broadly accessible registries of programs or providers who meet
nationally recognized standards of quality (such as NAEYC
accreditation); provision of a broad array of training and technical
assistance programs to meet the varied needs of different types of
providers; and development and dissemination of model standards or
Public regulation of early childhood program facilities, including
licensing, represents a basic level of protection afforded to all
children in settings outside their family. Additional strategies
and policies along with licensing are needed to support the provision
of high-quality services for all families who want or need them.
These strategies and policies, however, cannot substitute for
licensing in providing basic protection.
NAEYC's principles for effective regulation
NAEYC offers the following 10 principles for implementing an
effective regulatory system.
- Any program providing care and education to children from two
or more unrelated families should be regulated; there should be
no exemptions from this principle.
NAEYC believes that all types of care and education programs
within the child care market should be regulated to provide basic
protections to children. These protections must apply to all
programs, without limiting definitions, exemptions, or exceptions.
Whenever programs are exempted, not covered, or given special
treatment, children are vulnerable and the entire regulatory
system is weakened. NAEYC believes that programs should be
regulated regardless of sponsorship, regardless of the length of
program day, and regardless of the age of children served. NAEYC
explicitly opposes the exemption of part-day programs or programs
sponsored by religious organizations, because such exemption does
not provide an equal level of health and safety protection for
NAEYC's definition of licensed care specifically excludes care by
kith and kin when a family engages an individual to care solely
for their children. A family support/education model that
provides helpful information and support to individuals caring
for children is likely to be more effective and meaningful in
reaching kith-and-kin providers than a formal licensing model.
Programs targeted to parents of young children to help them in
their role as their child's first teacher should also be
accessible to kith-and-kin caregivers. If kith-and-kin providers
are paid with public funds, NAEYC supports the application of
funding standards to these arrangements.
- States should license all facilities that provide services to
the public, including all centers, large family or group child
care homes, and small family child care homes (i.e., granting
permission to operate).
NAEYC recommends that all centers or schools (serving 10 or more
children in a nonresidential setting) be licensed facilities.
Facility licensure should include an on-site visit prior to
licensure and periodic inspections to monitor continued
compliance. Licensing rules should focus on the aspects deemed
most critical to maintaining children's safety and their healthy
development, both in terms of their immediate physical health and
well-being and their long-term well-being in all areas of
development. NAEYC supports the use of Stepping Stones to
Using Caring for Our Children (National Resource Center for
Health and Safety in Child Care 1997) to identify those
requirements in the National Health and Safety Performance
Standards (APHA & AAP 1992) most needed for prevention of
injury, morbidity, and mortality in child care settings.
Licenses are typically granted to privately administered programs
rather than publicly operated programs; although some states do
require publicly operated programs (such as those administered by
the state department of education) to be licensed. If licensure
is not required of publicly operated programs, the administering
agency should ensure that the program's regulatory standards and
enforcement procedures are at least equivalent to those applied
to licensed facilities. Such language should be written into law
to empower the administering agency to develop statewide policies
States currently vary widely in their definitions and procedures
for regulating family child care homes. NAEYC recommends the
adoption of consistent definitions of small family child care
homes as care of no more than six children by a single
caregiver in her home, including the caregiver's children age
twelve or younger and large family child care homes as
care in the caregiver's residence employing a full-time assistant
and serving 7 to 12 children, including the caregivers' children
age twelve or younger. When infants and toddlers are present in
a small family child care home, no more than three children
should be younger than age three, unless only infants and
toddlers are in the group and the total group size does not
exceed four. Large family child care homes should meet the same
ratios and group sizes recommended for use in centers.
NAEYC supports licensing methods for small family child care
homes that are designed to achieve full regulatory coverage of
all home-based care providers in a state. These methods sometimes
do not require an on-site inspection prior to operation. NAEYC
believes that such methodswhether called registration,
certification, or another form of licensingare viable ways
to license small family child care homes provided that (1)
standards are developed and applied; (2) permission to operate
may be removed from homes that refuse to comply with the rules;
(3) parents are well informed about the standards and the process;
and (4) an effective monitoring process, including on-site
inspections, is in place. NAEYC believes that large family child
care homes should be licensed in the same way as centers, with
an inspection prior to licensure.
- In addition to licensing facilities, states should establish
complementary processes for professional licensing of individuals
as teachers, caregivers, or program administrators (i.e.,
granting permission to practice).
The skills and qualifications of the individuals working in an
early childhood program are critically essential to creating
environments that promote children's healthy development and
learning. Establishing licenses for the various roles included
in early childhood centers and family child care homes not only
protects children's healthy development by requiring the
demonstration of key competencies but also will enhance early
childhood professionalism and career development. In addition,
individual licensure holds promise for increasing the
compensation of staff (Kagan & Cohen 1997). Licensing of
individuals is also a more cost-effective way of regulating
qualifications centrally rather than on a licensing visit.
A number of states are implementing career or personnel
registries (Azer, Capraro, & Elliott 1997); individual
licensure can build upon and complement these efforts. Personnel
licensure should provide for multiple levels and roles, such as
teacher/caregiver, master or lead teacher/caregiver, family child
care provider, master family child care provider, and early
childhood administrator. Attaining a license should require
demonstration of the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed
for the specific role. (For further information, see
NAEYC's Guidelines for Preparation of
Early Childhood Professionals [NAEYC 1996] and
"A Conceptual Framework of Early
Childhood Professional Development" [Willer 1994]).
Multiple licenses are needed because of the diversity of roles
and functions fulfilled by program personnel; multiple levels
help to establish a career ladder with meaningful opportunities
for career advancement, with higher levels of compensation linked
to higher levels of qualification and demonstrated competence.
In states in which early childhood teacher licensure or
certification already exists for public school personnel, early
childhood personnel licensing should be coordinated with these
efforts. Individual licensure efforts may also be used to provide
a form of consumer protection for families using in-home care by
enabling them to check the credentials of a potential employee.
- Licensing standards should be clear and reasonable and reflect
current research findings related to regulative aspects that will
reduce the risk of harm.
Licensing rules reflect public policy not program specifications.
Highly detailed descriptions of program implementation are
inappropriate for inclusion in licensing rules. Such areas are
better addressed through consumer education and professional
development. For example, requiring programs to establish a
planned program of activities to enhance children's development
and learning would be an appropriate licensing rule, specifying
the number of blocks to be available in a classroom would not.
NAEYC recommends that the licensing standards address health and
safety aspects, group size, adult-child ratios, and preservice
qualifications, and inservice requirements for staff (referencing
individual licensing standards). Periodic review and revision
(every five years) are needed to ensure that rules reflect
current issues as well as the latest knowledge and practice.
Licensing rules should be widely publicized to parents and the
public; these groups, along with service providers, should also
participate in the review and revision of the rules.
- Regulations should be vigorously and equitably enforced.
Enforcement is critical to effective regulation. Effective
enforcement requires periodic on-site inspections on both an
announced and unannounced basis with meaningful sanctions for
noncompliance. NAEYC recommends that all centers and large and
small family child care homes receive at least one site visit per
year. Additional inspections should be completed if there are
reasons (such as newness of the facility, sanction history, recent
staff turnover, history of violations, complaint history) to
suspect regulatory violations. Unannounced visits have been shown
to be especially effective when targeted to providers with a
history of low compliance (Fiene 1996).
Clear, well-publicized processes should be established for
reporting, investigating, and appealing complaints against
programs. Parents and consumers especially should be informed
of these processes. Staff should be encouraged to report program
violations of licensing rules. If whistle-blowing laws do not
exist or do not cover early care and education workers, such
legislation should be enacted. Substantiated violations should be
well publicized, at the program site as well as in other venues
(such as resource and referral agencies, newspapers, public
libraries, online, etc.) easily accessible to parents and
consumers. Lists of programs with exemplary compliance records
also should be widely publicized along with lists of programs
that meet the requirements of recognized systems of quality
approval, such as NAEYC accreditation.
Sanctions should be included in the regulatory system to give
binding force to its requirements. Enforcement provisions should
provide an array of enforcement options such as: the ability to
impose fines; to revoke, suspend, or limit licenses; to restrict
enrollment or admissions; and to take emergency action to close
programs in circumstances that are dangerous to children. When
threats to children's health and safety are discovered, sanctions
should be promptly imposed without a delayed administrative
hearing process. The vulnerability of children mandates the
highest level of official scrutiny of out-of-family care and
- Licensing agencies should have sufficient staff and resources
to effectively implement the regulatory process.
Staffing to handle licensing must be adequate not only to provide
for timely processing of applications but also to implement
periodic monitoring inspections and to follow up complaints
against programs. Licensing agencies must consider a number of
factors in determining reasonable caseloads, for example, program
size and travel time between programs. NAEYC believes that, on
the average, regulators' caseloads should be no more than 75
centers and large family child care homes or the equivalent;
NAEYC recommends 50 as a more desirable number. States that do
not make on-site inspections prior to licensing small family
child care homes may assume larger caseloads, but allowing for
timely processing of licenses, periodic on-site inspections, and
prompt follow-ups to complaints.
Regulatory personnel responsible for inspecting and monitoring
programs should have preparation and demonstrated competence in
early childhood education and child development, program
administration, and regulatory enforcement, including the use of
sanctions. These criteria should be included in civil service
requirements for licensing staff.
- Regulatory processes should be coordinated and streamlined to
promote greater effectiveness and efficiency.
Rules and inspections should be coordinated between the licensing
agency and those agencies responsible for building and fire
safety and health and sanitation codes so that any overlap is
reduced to a minimum and contradictions resolved. In many cases
coordination will require reform at a statewide level, as
different requirements derive from different laws, are
implemented by different agencies, and respond to different
constituencies (Center for Career Development 1995).
Coordination with funding agencies is also crucial. Licensing
personnel can provide program monitoring for the funding agency,
thus eliminating duplicate visits; funding can be withheld
possibly in cases of substantiated violations.
Other methods for consideration in streamlining the regulatory
process include (1) establishing permanent rather than annual
licenses for centers, allowing for the removal of the license for
cause at any time, and conducting inspection visits at least
annually to determine continued compliance; (2) coordinating
local teams that monitor and inspect for licensing and regulation
of health, fire and building safety codes; (3) and removing
zoning barriers. NAEYC believes that centers and family child
care homes should be regarded as a needed community service
rather than as commercial development, and should be permitted in
any residential zone. Planning officials should take into account
the need for these services as communities develop new housing
and commercial uses.
- Incentive mechanisms should encourage the achievement of a
higher quality of service beyond the basic floor.
In addition to mandated licensing rules that establish a floor
of quality below which no program is allowed to operate,
governments can use incentive mechanisms to encourage programs
to achieve higher levels of quality. Examples of incentive
mechanisms include funding standards, higher payment rates tied
to demonstrated compliance with higher levels of quality, and
active publicity on programs achieving higher quality. Given the
nature of the early childhood field as severely underfunded,
these mechanisms should be implemented in conjunction with
funding targeted to help programs achieve and maintain higher
levels of quality, or else the strategy simply enlarges the gulf
between the haves and have-nots. Differential
monitoring strategies, whereby programs maintaining strong track
records and experiencing low turnover in personnel receive
shortened inspections or are eligible for longer-term licenses,
also may serve as incentives to programs for providing higher
- Consumer and public education should inform families,
providers, and the public of the importance of the early years
and of ways to create environments that promote children's
learning and development.
Actively promoting messages about what constitutes good settings
for young children not only encourages parents to be better
consumers of services in the marketplace but also, because these
messages will reach providers outside the scope of regulation
(family members and in-home providers), may help improve the
quality of other settings. Public service announcements, the
development and dissemination of brochures and flyers that
describe state/local standards, open workshops, and ongoing
communication with organized parent groups and well-care
programs are all excellent ways for the regulatory agency to
raise the child-caring consciousness of a community. A highly
visible regulatory system also helps to inform potential and
existing providers of the existence of standards and the need to
comply with the law.
- States should invest sufficient levels of resources to ensure
that children's healthy development and learning are not harmed
in early care and education settings.
NAEYC believes that public regulation is a basic and necessary
component of government's responsibility for protecting all
children in all programs from the risk of harm and for promoting
the conditions that are essential for children's healthy
development and learning, which must be adequately funded.
Additionally, government at every level can and should support
early childhood programs by ensuring sufficient funding for high
quality services, opportunities for professional development and
technical assistance to service providers, consumer education to
families and the general public, and child care resource and
referral services to families.
Early childhood regulation in context
An effective system of public regulation is the cornerstone of
an effective system of early childhood care and education services,
because it alone reaches all programs in the market. But for the
regulatory system to be the most effective, other pieces of the early
childhood care and education services system must also be in place,
including (1) a holistic approach to addressing the needs of children
and families that stresses collaborative planning and service
integration across traditional boundaries of child care, education,
health, employment, and social services; (2) systems that recognize
and promote quality; (3) an effective system of professional
development that provides meaningful opportunities for career
advancement to ensure a stable, well-qualified workforce; (4)
equitable financing that ensures access for all children and families
to high-quality services; and (5) active involvement of all
stakeholders--providers, practitioners, parents, and community
leaders from both public and private sectors--in all aspects of
program planning and delivery. NAEYC is committed to ensuring that
each of these elements is in place. As early childhood educators,
we believe that nothing less than the future of our nation--the
well-being of its children--is at stake.
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This document is an official position statement of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.