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)

Our Staff

Marcy Whitebook, Ph.D., Director

Lea J.E. Austin, Specialist

Fran Kipnis, Senior Specialist

Olivia Medina, Assistant

Laura Sakai, Ph.D., Researcher

Marcy Whitebook, Ph.D.
Director

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 96 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.

Lea J.E. Austin
Specialist

Lea J.E. Austin 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, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Mills College and is currently completing her Ed.D in Educational Leadership at Mills College .

Fran Kipnis
Senior Specialist

Fran Kipnis joined the CSCCE staff in 2006. Previously, she served for 13 years as Research Director for the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network. In this role, she managed the Regional Market Rate Survey of California Child Care Providers and the California Child Care Portfolio project, and also led the Network’s collaboration with CSCCE on the California Early Care and Education Workforce Study. Fran has also served as a Program Officer for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Olivia Medina
Assistant

Olivia Medina joined the CSCCE staff in December 2013. Previously, she worked at the San Luis Obispo County Jail as an administrative assistant in the Medical Clinic. She received her B.A.s in both History and Anthropology from the University of California, Irvine. Olivia has a strong administrative background and provides critical support for CSCCE staff and projects.

Laura Sakai, Ph.D.
Researcher

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.