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CCW/AFTEF History

The worker-based movement to improve child care compensation has roots as far back as union campaigns during the 1940s and 1950s, and the rise of teacher advocacy groups in a handful of communities in the 1960s and 1970s. From these beginnings, the Child Care Employee Project (CCEP) was founded in 1978 in Berkeley, CA. As a grassroots organization of child care teachers in the San Francisco Bay Area, CCEP took on the role of networking other small grassroots groups around the country, and the work of developing resources for others to use in their research, policy and organizing work began in earnest.

In the late 1980s CCEP conducted its first landmark research project, - the National Child Care Staffing Study. This study was the first of its kind to document the status of child care workers nationwide and, established a clear link between the quality of care that children receive and the compensation and stability of their child care teachers. As child care workforce issues received more national attention, CCEP moved its headquarters to Washington, DC in 1994, becoming a central figure in the public policy debate surrounding child care issues. From 1994 to 1997 CCEP became known as the National Center for the Early Childhood Workforce, and eventually changed its name to the Center for the Child Care Workforce (CCW).

CCW advocated for public policy to restructure the early care and education delivery system to better address the issues of workforce recruitment and compensation, researched and documented the status and influenced organizing strategies that emphasized a unified voice for early care and education teachers and providers.

In 2002 CCW merged with the American Federation of Teachers Educational Foundation (AFTEF), a 501(c)(3) organization that is the nonprofit arm of the American Federation of Teachers.The merger was the culmination of work that began as a result of a decision to discontinue as an independent, free-standing organization. As an AFTEF project, CCW/AFTEF hopes to use this unprecedented opportunity to broaden the scope of CCW's work and expand the capacity to create a unified voice for the early care and education workforce.

CCW/AFTEF is extremely proud to build on CCW's history started more than twenty years ago. CCW/AFTEF and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are now together to jointly champion high-quality early care and education for young children that ensure good jobs for early care and education.

CCW's Key Accomplishments, 1978-2002   

1977 

Founded in Oakland, CA as the East Bay Staff Education Project.

1978 

East Bay Workers in Child Care became known as the Child Care Employee Project

1980 

"Who's Minding the Child Care Workers?", a report based on in- depth interviews with 95 child care teachers and providers in San Francisco was published in the nationally distributed Children Today.

1985 

Organized the Child Care Employee Caucus which was first conveyed at the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Conference.

1988 

In collaboration with Chabot College, created the Child Care Mentor Teacher Program, that acknowledged master teachers and rewarded them with higher compensation in California. (Currently, this program is in operation in 70 community colleges in California)

1989 

Published the National Child Care Staffing Study, a landmark study that documented the link between program quality, compensation paid to the child care teachers and the affect on children.

1991 

Led, the Worthy Wage Campaign which was created as a grassroots coalition to raise public awareness about the child care staffing crisis caused by low wages.

1994 

Moved to national headquarters in Washington, D.C. and becomes known as the National Center of the Early Childhood Workforce.

Convened first conference, "Breaking the Link: A National Forum on Child care Compensation" was as an invitation conference for 100 public policy experts to explore systemic solutions to the child care staffing crisis. 

The Leadership Empowerment Action Project (LEAP), a training program to assist child care teachers develop leadership and community organizing skills was developed.

1996 

Released report, NAEYC Accreditation as a Strategy for Improving Child Care Quality, which documents that efforts by NAEYC's accredited program to improve quality were hampered in programs by poor compensation.

1997 

Became known as the Center for the Child Care Workforce (CCW).

Taking on Turnover, an action guide and training program to address the growing problem of turnover in center-based child care programs, is developed and later published in 1999.

1998 

Invited to serve on President Clinton's Treasury Department Working Group on Child Care, a working group which included representatives from six major U.S. corporations as well as the AFL-CIO.

CARES (Compensation and Recognition Encourages Stability), a program to provide professional development awards to child care teachers and providers based on education and years of experience is developed in partnership with California advocates and the California Labor Federation.

2001 

Then & Now: Changes in Child Care Staffing, 1994-2000, the first longitudinal study of child care workforce which reported turnover rates over time, and documented where people went when they left, and who replaced them in the child care workforce, was published.

2001 

FOCUS (Focus on Committed and Underpaid Staff for Children's Sake) Act,  the first national legislation introduced to provide stipends to child care teachers and family child care providers based on their educational level and years of experience. The bill is introduced on Worthy Wage Day (May 1) 2001

2002 

Merged with the AFT Educational Foundation on November 1, 2002.

Worthy Wages
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