County's Child Care Workforce Eager for Educational Opportunity


Fairfax County Department of Family Services
Office for Children

12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 920
Fairfax, VA 22035-1102

February 19, 2007

County's child care workforce eager for educational opportunity:
New study provides benchmark for statewide initiative

A new study — released this month by the Fairfax County Child Care Advisory Council and the Fairfax County Office for Children (OFC) — reports that most of the county's child care workforce (those teaching and caring for children in child care settings) have not completed their education beyond high school.

Yet many of these same child care providers respond enthusiastically to opportunities for professional training in their field. The study notes that a key strength of the county's child care workforce is its willingness to participate in training beyond the hours required by state and county regulations.  Professional development workshops for child care providers are in great demand in the county and fill up quickly, with long waiting lists. 

By the second day of registration, over half the courses in OFC's winter 2007 Institute for Early Learning were filled, with waiting lists, says Judith Rosen, OFC director.  This is especially impressive considering that child care providers attend these courses on evenings after work and on Saturdays.
 
The enthusiastic response of the county's child care workers to new educational opportunities offers promising feedback for a new statewide initiative to improve the professional education of those caring for the Commonwealth's youngest children. 

The newly released Fairfax County study notes that just as Fairfax County is known for its world-class K-12 educational system, it is critically important to support its earlychildhood educators. Family child-care providers in Virginia are only required to complete 6 hours of training to obtain a state license (plus 6 hours annually thereafter).  In Fairfax County, family child care providers must complete 12 hours of training to obtain a county permit (plus 6 hours annually thereafter).  Teachers in child care centers must have only 16 hours of training. By comparison, 1,500 hours of training are required to obtain a beautician's license in Virginia.

The importance of high-quality early childhood education is becoming increasingly evident. Recent research on brain development indicates that experiences children have during their first three years of life greatly influence how they will function in school, adolescence and even adulthood.

The new survey of Fairfax County's child care workforce benchmarks several areas in which improvements are sought -- education, turnover, salaries and benefits.

The report, Caring for Our Children: Findings from the Fairfax County Child Care Workforce Study, is available on the Fairfax County Web site at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ofc/.

For more information about the study, contact Dan Dildine in Fairfax County's Department of Family Services / Office for Children at 703-324-8042, TTY 711.


Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability
in all county programs, services and activities.
Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.
To request this information in an alternate format, call
703-324-8042; TTY 711.




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Fairfax County Department of Family Services
[ 12011 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035 ]
[ 703-324-7500 ]

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