Child Care WAGE$ is an education-based salary supplement program for low-paid teachers, directors, and family child care educators in North Carolina. The purpose of the program is to increase retention, education, and compensation. Child Care WAGE$ is a funding collaboration between the local Smart Start partnership and the state’s Division of Child Development and Early Education. The awards vary based on the income cap tier selected by the funding partnership. WAGE$ participants must work at least six months in the same child care program to be eligible for an award.
WAGE$ decreases turnover, stabilizes the workforce, promotes the continuity of care, and encourages the workforce to pursue continuing education courses. The WAGE$ turnover rate ranges from 12 to 16 percent, which is significantly lower than the national average of 30 and 40 percent. 99 percent of WAGE$ recipients shared that the wage supplements encouraged them to remain in their current programs or pursue further education. Additionally, 98 percent indicated that they feel more appreciated and recognized for their work.