In order to improve the availability of ECE services in Los Angeles county, there must be a substantial pool of qualified and trained staff who work in these settings, and who are qualified to provide high-quality early childhood education to children in the county. As stated by the National Academy of Sciences (2012) and reinforced by the emerging results from the National Survey of Early Education and Care (2013), “the nature and effects of ECE depend in large part on the adults who care for children” (National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 2013, pp. 5). Researchers and policymakers at the state and federal levels recognize the centrality of such factors as the attitudes; education; training or professional development; compensation; and mental health of those adult teachers and caregivers. High quality on these factors can ensure children receive care that meets their physical, emotional, and educational needs (National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 2013, pp. 5).

The size of the ECE workforce in California is hard to estimate because little data are available about the unregulated care provided to young children, largely comprised of the non-exempt providers defined in the previous section of this report. As a result, the estimates of the numbers of teachers and caregivers working in ECE settings are usually based on only licensed providers. In 2006, the California Early Care and Education Statewide Workforce Study estimates that between 154,000 and 169,000 individuals work in child care according to the economic impact report produced by the Center for Labor Research and Education at University of California, Berkeley (MacGillvary and Lucia, 2011). Combining providers and paid assistants (who are estimated by applying the ratio of providers to paid assistants), 34% to 38% of the workforce is employed in family child care home with 43% to 48% employed in licensed child care centers. Licensed centers employ 44,600 teachers, 22,600 assistants, and 6,900 Directors (MacGillvary and Lucia, 2011). The remainder of total workforce was based on estimates indicating that between 24,100 and 39,800 Californians are employed in license-exempt family child care (MacGillvary and Lucia, 2011).

Citing 2008 data from the California Education Development Department, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce reported an estimated total of 41,300 individuals of which 37% (n = 15,120) were preschool teachers (n = 15,120) employed in licensed centers and family child care homes in Los Angeles County (Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, n.d.).

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