Child Care WAGE$® Program

The Child Care WAGE$® Program is an education-based salary supplement program for teachers, directors and family child care providers working with children birth to five in licensed settings. The program provides financial awards after six-month periods completed in the same child care program, thus increasing the retention of participants. It rewards attained education and encourages additional coursework, supporting the professional development of the early childhood workforce. WAGE$ provides compensation that helps build quality. The program is funded by participating Smart Start Partnerships and the Division of Child Development and Early Education. To learn if a county is participating, call 919-967-3272 or visit our website.

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Fast Facts

Relevant Actions
State or Local? State
CountiesVisit website for updated list
Lead Agency Child Care Services Association
Type of Agency


Racial Equity Lens
  • WAGE$ intentionally seeks to have a racially diverse advisory committee, which helps to guide the program’s policies and practices. The team that administers WAGE$ is also racially diverse.
  • WAGE$ consistently reports on the percentage of participants served who are people of color/Latinx and ensures that recruitment efforts address these and all communities.
  • WAGE$ examines education by race/ethnicity to learn educational achievements and to ensure that support resources, such as the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Program, are consistently and equitably shared.
Community Voice
  • WAGE$ intentionally includes workforce representation on its advisory committee, including current and/or past recipients.
  • Reduced turnover of participating early educators
  • Increased education of participating early educators
  • Increased compensation for participating early educators
Next Steps
  • WAGE$ consistently looks to expand to additional counties to widen the scope of its impact.
  • WAGE$ consistently encourages funders to offer the highest compensation possible with available budgets.
Primary Partners
  • Participating local Smart Start Partnerships
  • Division of Child Development and Early Education
  • Education and Compensation Advisory Committee members
Primary Funders
  • Participating local Smart Start Partnerships
  • Division of Child Development and Early Education
Contact Allison Miller