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May 15 -- The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is proposing to collect information to examine a promising strategy to support the child care and early education (CCEE) workforce in Colorado as part of the Building and Sustaining the Child Care and Early Education Workforce (BASE) project. This project aims to build evidence about workforce development strategies designed to promote, retain, and advance the CCEE workforce by improving the economic well-being of CCEE workers. Comments due by July 14, 2023.

As part of the BASE project, OPRE is evaluating the implementation, impacts, and costs of two initiatives designed to improve the wages and economic well-being of the CCEE workforce in Colorado. Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) is implementing two initiatives to improve the compensation and economic well-being of the CCEE workforce: (1) eligible CCEE center-based settings are randomly selected through a lottery process, and (2) eligible home-based CCEE settings receive additional funding and supports.

OPRE proposes to collect survey, interview, and cost data to understand: (a) the implementation and costs of the initiatives, (b) the effects of the initiative for teachers in center-based CCEE settings, and (c) the experiences of directors and teachers in center-based CCEE settings and owners and caregivers in home-based CCEE settings with the initiatives. The study will include CCEE workers who are offered the initiatives and those who are not, as assigned through CDEC's lottery, and key informants who are involved in the design and implementation of CDEC's initiatives.

The effectiveness of the initiative will be determined by differences between members of the intervention and control groups for hypothesized outcomes in center-based CCEE settings. The experiences of directors/owners, teachers, and caregivers in center-based and home-based CCEE settings with the initiatives will be explored with qualitative and descriptive analyses.

OPRE and Colorado are collaborating to evaluate the two initiatives. Colorado will collect baseline survey data and share it with OPRE. OPRE will collect follow-up surveys and interviews. Study participants will complete follow-up surveys approximately 9 and 18 months after the initiatives begin to understand how strategies that aim to improve compensation might improve outcomes such as workforce recruitment, retention, and economic and psychological well-being, as well as to capture contextual information about CCEE settings' working conditions and job demands and supports. Interviews will be conducted approximately 6 to 9 months after the initiatives began with center-based teachers/home-based caregivers and center-based directors/home-based owners to capture their experiences with the initiatives, perceptions, attitudes, beliefs about the initiatives, and how these experiences may shape the viability and implementation of the initiatives. Interviews with key informants at state-level implementing agencies will collect qualitative data to understand contextual factors and the impetus behind the design and implementation of the initiatives. Finally, cost workbooks completed by center-based CCEE setting administrators will collect cost data to assess the costs associated with implementing the initiative.

This information collection will support ACF and the CCEE field in understanding whether workforce support strategies that increase compensation affect the retention and well-being of the CCEE workforce. This information will help to inform Federal, State, and local initiatives to build and retain a qualified CCEE workforce.
BASE: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/project/building-and-sustaining-early-care-and-education-workforce-base
Draft survey instruments and technical documentation available at https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/bscjfdatrhi4w171l7pkd/h?dl=0&rlkey=id4lqapgkp101z1po16hhlwt0
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-10278

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