Policy brief

Matching Funds for Retention Incentives for Early Care and Education Staff Evaluation

Year One Progress Report, 2001–2002
Bridget K. Hamre
University of Virginia
Rebecca Grove
Hood College
Justin Louie
Policy Analysis for California Education


Sensitive and stimulating interactions between children and early care and education (ECE) staff are the basis of high quality care. Furthermore, research suggests that both stability and training within the ECE workforce lead to higher quality interactions between children and their caregivers. Policy initiatives intended to increase the quality of care in centers and family childcare (FCC) homes are based on these assumptions about the importance of a stable and well-trained ECE workforce.

In 1999, Alameda and San Francisco counties implemented childcare retention incentive (CRI) programs, providing graduated stipends to ECE staff with at least nine months experience in the field. The stipends are linked to staff members’ education level and training in the first year, and to gaining additional training and professional development in subsequent years.

First 5 California contracted with PACE to provide a three-year assessment of the effectiveness of CRI programs. The primary goal is to provide an overview of variations in CRI program design and to examine ways in which specific features of program design may impact the intended outcomes—most notably retention and training activities.

This Year One progress report highlights findings from the first year of the Matching Funds for Retention program, including initial rates  development, training, and retention in a subset of counties (Napa, San Luis Obispo, Siskiyou, and Ventura) selected for in-depth study. Specifically, this report will provide preliminary answers to the following:

  • What types of CRI programs did counties design?

  • What are the characteristics of program participants and how is program design associated with these characteristics?

  • How many children do CRI participants serve? How many participants work with infants and toddlers, children with special needs, or children whose primary language is not English?

  • In what types of training activities are program participants engaging?

  • Do CRI programs encourage retention within the ECE workforce?

Suggested citationHamre, B., Grove, H., & Louie, J. (2003, February). Matching funds for retention incentives for early care and education staff evaluation: Year one progress report, 2001–02 [Policy brief]. Policy Analysis for California Education. https://edpolicyinca.org/publications/matching-funds-retention-incentives-2001-2002