The Child Care Funding Cliff 2024 Advocacy Toolkit

North Carolina's child care system is at the edge of a funding cliff. If Child Care Compensation Grants aren’t extended by June 30th there will be catastrophic consequences for North Carolina businesses and families. Without child care, parents can’t work and children miss out on important early educational experiences. Additionally, businesses in nearly every sector have identified child care as a critical factor in their workforce challenges.

Parents can't afford to pay more, early educators can't afford to make less, and our economy can't thrive without a stable child care system.

Since 2021, Child Care Compensation Grants have provided higher wages and bonuses to more than 40,000 North Carolina early educators. Without support from the NC General Assembly during this legislative session, the vast majority of child care teachers will receive a pay cut, putting their hourly wages lower than most fast food, retail, and service workers. This funding cliff puts families, businesses, and the state’s economy at risk.

This urgent crisis calls for urgent action, and we hope you will make your voice heard during the legislative session! This Advocacy Toolkit provides resources, messaging, and tools to help you be an effective advocate for child care. Your story, your commitment, and your action is critically important. Together, we can show our communities and our policymakers just how essential child care is for young children and parents, for businesses and employers, and for our state’s economy.

The Power of Advocacy

The time to be an advocate for child care is now! very child in North Carolina deserves an opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed. But right now, our state’s child care system is on the edge of a funding cliff that will be catastrophic. Families can’t afford the high cost, teachers can’t work for such low wages, providers are struggling to keep their doors open, and businesses across the state are dealing with workforce shortages due to a lack of child care in their communities. With federal relief funding about to run out, our state has reached a tipping point. That's why policymakers need to hear from you!

Elected officials want to represent the best interests of their constituents who live in their counties and districts. But very few elected officials have a background in child care, and many don’t have real-life experiences that help them understand the issues facing early educators or families with young children. They need your input in order to make the best decisions with the greatest impact.

We hope that the resources in this toolkit will support you in your advocacy efforts for early education. You can do this, and together, we can make a difference!

What Are We Asking For?

$300 million to Extend Child Care Compensation Grants

Since 2021, Child Care Compensation Grants have supported child care programs’ efforts to address workforce compensation and turnover in order to increase availability for families. That funding ends in June of this year, which will result in a pay cut for the vast majority of child care teachers. Returning to lower wages will lead to a mass exodus of teachers who can earn more working in fast food, retail and similar service industries. Child care programs can’t compete with other businesses unless they significantly raise costs for parents, as cutting staff is not an option.

According to a recent survey, 30% of child care programs say they expect to close when the relief funding ends in June, which would impact more than 91,000 young children and families.

A one-time allocation of $300 million is urgently needed to help child care programs stay open to support young children, working parents, businesses and employers, and our state’s economy

Talking Points about Early Education

Child care is essential for young children's development

  • Every young child in North Carolina deserves the opportunity to learn, grow and succeed. Early education prepares children to succeed in school and beyond, providing the foundation for their future.
  • A child's earliest years are a critical window of brain development. High-quality early education has proven, lifelong benefits.
  • All children deserve access to high-quality early learning that will help them be ready for kindergarten, reading at grade level, and prepared for graduation.
  • Early education is are building brains and preparing the children who will be North Carolina's future workers, innovators, and leaders.

Child care is essential for families

  • Every parent in North Carolina deserves the chance to choose safe and reliable early learning opportunities that will allow them to work and support their families while giving their children a strong start.
  • Child care can be the glue that helps hold it all together for families. Parents in every industry depend on child care to be able to work.
  • Parents in every county are struggling to find and afford child care, often waiting months - or even years - on waiting lists and paying more than college tuition once they do get a spot.

Child care is essential for businesses and our economy

  • North Carolina is a top state for business, but our child care infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the demand as more people move here and need care for their young children.
  • The availability and affordability of child care is crucial for businesses to recruit and retain employees, and to encourage more economic growth in our state. A top reason for current workforce shortages is lack of stable, affordable child care.
  • A strong early education system supports our current workforce and builds a workforce for North Carolina’s future.

How to Take Action

See below for ways to take action, tips for sharing your story, and tools to help you communicate with policymakers and media.

Take Action Now

Click the button below to visit our action center and send a message to your legislator now!

Sharing Your Story

Sharing your story about how child care impacts you, your family, your child care program, or your community is the single most important thing you can do! There are many different ways to share your story when communicating with policymakers, the media, or even your own network of friends and colleagues. And, by sharing your story in several different ways – taking a “surround sound” approach – you can amplify your message, reach people in multiple ways, and make an even bigger impact.

Ways to share your story:

  • Send an email
  • Make a phone call
  • Post a message on social media (and tag policymakers!)
  • Record a short video or post a picture on social media (and tag your legislators!)
  • Write a blog or newsletter article and share it online and with your network
  • Write a a Letter to the Editor or Op-Ed for your local newspaper
  • Share a story with us through our Action Center that we can use in our conversations with policymakers.

Contacting Policymakers

The following templates are provided as a guide to communicate with your own legislators and other key North Carolina legislators who will make decisions about child care funding and policy. Please edit these templates, and keep in mind that sharing your own personal story is always the most effective way to communicate with policymakers.

Below you will find contact information for key North Carolina legislators for this campaign. We also encourage you to always contact your own legislators too, even if they are not on this list. All legislators are important and want to hear from you as their own constituent, and every legislator votes on bills and budgets that impact child care funding.

Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool to share your story, raise awareness within your own network, and communicate with policymakers. Use the button below to access a social media toolkit with sample messages and graphics, as well as guidance and tips for using social media.


For questions, more information, and additional resources, please visit the NC Early Education Coalition's website or email us using the button below.

About the NC Early Education Coalition

The North Carolina Early Education Coalition works to ensure that all children - regardless of race, family income, or zip code - have access to high-quality early care and learning experiences. Since 1990, we have highlighted the proven power of quality early childhood education by sharing information and resources with parents, professionals and policymakers. The Coalition is the only statewide advocacy coalition dedicated to promoting high-quality, accessible, and affordable child care in North Carolina. We are also the backbone organization for the Think Babies™ NC Alliance, promoting effective and equitable policies to ensure all babies and their families have what they need to thrive. Our membership includes statewide organizations, regional and local child care agencies, child care providers and individuals committed to improving the quality of early education in North Carolina.