The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment is focused on achieving comprehensive public investments which enable and reward the early childhood workforce to deliver high quality care and education for all children.

We conduct cutting-edge research and propose policy solutions aimed at improving how our nation prepares, supports and rewards the early care and education workforce to ensure young children’s optimal development.

Since 1999, CSCCE has been:

  • Conducting ground-breaking research on the early care and education workforce
  • Working with state and federal legislators to develop and assess policy
  • Providing technical assistance to organizations nationwide on implementing sound early care and education workforce policy
  • Promoting leadership development within the early care and education field
  • Assisting with the development of workforce data systems

As a result of this work, policymakers and their staff, thought leaders in the field, and other stakeholders use CSCCE’s research and recommendations to inform policy decisions that support the early care and education workforce.

Download a one-page background on CSCCE (pdf)

Job Opportunities

Our Staff

marcy-whitetbookMarcy Whitebook, Ph.D.

Marcy Whitebook, Ph.D., joined IRLE and established the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment in 1999, as a researcher focusing on issues of employment in settings for young children, the relationship between good jobs and the quality of services available to children and families, and appropriate and accessible professional preparation for teachers. Prior to joining UC Berkeley, she taught in early childhood programs for many years, and was the founding Executive Director of the Washington-based Center for the Child Care Workforce (CCW), an organization she began in 1977 as the Child Care Employee Project. Marcy has led several large-scale early childhood research projects, including the landmark National Child Care Staffing Study, which first brought public attention to the low wages and high turnover of child care teachers. She co-developed the Early Childhood Mentor Program in California, now operating in 103 colleges throughout the state, and CARES, a California program to encourage professional development and retention of early care and education practitioners. She worked as an infant toddler and preschool teacher for many years, and received a Ph.D. in Developmental Studies from the UCLA Graduate School of Education.

felippa-amantaFelippa Amanta
Program Associate

Felippa Amanta joined the CSCCE staff in 2015. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Sociology. Previously, she interned for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Washington D.C. and worked at the children’s gallery at Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive. Felippa provides assistance for the administration, research, and communications at CSCCE.

lea-austinLea J.E. Austin, Ed.D

Lea J.E. Austin, Ed.D., joined the CSCCE staff in 2010. She has extensive experience in the areas of workforce development, early childhood leadership competencies and curricula, and public policy and administration. In previous roles with Mills College in Oakland, California and First 5 Alameda County (California), Lea developed leadership programs in higher education and community settings, and implemented a professional development initiative focused on attainment of college education. She is a co-author of Leadership in Early Childhood: A Curriculum for Emerging and Established Agents of Change. Lea earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from California State University, Hayward, and a master’s degree and Ed.D in Educational Leadership from Mills College.

bethany-edwardsBethany Edwards
Research and Policy Associate

Bethany Edwards joined the CSCCE staff in 2016. Previously, she worked as a coordinator for the WestEd E3 Institute – Excellence in Early Education. In this role, she assisted in the implementation of the Race to the Top Action Plan in Santa Clara County, CA. Bethany earned a master’s degree in education policy from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.S. in political science from Texas A&M University.

Elizabeth King
Research and Policy Associate


caitlin-mcleanCaitlin McLean
Workforce Research Specialist

Caitlin McLean, Ph.D., joined the staff of CSCCE in 2015. Previously she was an Ailsa McKay Postdoctoral Fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University, where her research focused on the relationship between public and economic policies and the promotion of gender equality. Caitlin has extensive experience conducting research focused on understanding the interplay between social and public policy, gender equity, and child care and early childhood workforce policy. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the University of Edinburgh, where her dissertation compared child care policy and provision in the United States and the United Kingdom.

elena-montoyaElena Montoya
Research and Policy Associate

Elena Montoya joined the CSCCE staff in 2015. Previously, she served as a Policy Associate at Children Now, where she conducted research and coordinated the The California Report Card project, and served as the California state coordinator for the KIDS COUNT project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Elena also served as a Research Associate for the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, where she conducted research and analysis for the Data Standardization Project and The California Child Care Portfolio.

abby-copeman-petigAbby Copeman Petig, Ph.D.
Research and Policy Specialist

Abby Copeman Petig, Ph.D., joined the CSCCE staff in 2016. She has over a decade of experience in the early childhood research and policy fields in non-profit and academic settings, including extensive experience with program evaluation and secondary data analysis. In her time at the Child and Family Policy Center (Iowa), Abby co-authored several briefs on the topics of child care, school readiness, and quality rating systems. Abby earned a master’s degree in Applied Child Development and Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University, and a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Iowa State University.

laura-sakaiLaura Sakai, Ph.D.

Laura Sakai, Ph.D., joined the staff of CSCCE in 2008. Previously she consulted with CSCCE, serving as a senior member of the evaluation team for the California Early Care and Education Workforce Study, and has co-authored several reports with CSCCE and the Center for the Child Care Workforce, including Then and Now: Changes in Child Care Staffing, 1994-2000; By A Thread: How Child Care Centers Hold On To Teachers, How Teachers Build Lasting Careers; and NAEYC Accreditation as a Strategy for Improving Child Care Quality. In addition to her work with CSCCE, she has collaborated with the Miriam and Peter Haas Fund, the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, and other organizations. She received a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Southern California.