Training and Professional Development Requirements

States and territories are required to describe their framework for training, professional development, and postsecondary education for caregivers, teachers, and directors, including those working in school-age care. This framework is part of a broader systematic approach building on health and safety training within a state. States must incorporate their knowledge and application of health and safety standards, early learning guidelines, responses to challenging behavior, and the engagement of families. States are required to establish a progression of professional development opportunities to improve the knowledge and skills of CCDF providers. To the extent practicable, professional development should be appropriate to work with a population of children of different ages, English-language learners, children with disabilities, and Native Americans. Training and professional development is one of the options that states and territories have for investing their CCDF quality funds.

Flexibility is provided on the strategies, breadth, and depth with which states will develop and implement their framework. Through the CCDF Plan, states must ensure that the framework for training, professional development, and postsecondary education for all caregivers, teachers, and directors (including those staff working in school-age care) meets the following requirements:

  • Is developed in consultation with the State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care or similar coordinating body
  • Engages training and professional development providers, including higher education, in aligning training opportunities with the state’s framework
  • Addresses professional standards and competencies, career pathways, advisory structure, articulation, workforce information, and financing
  • Establishes qualifications designed to enable providers that provide services to children eligible for CCDF services to promote the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of children and improve the knowledge and skills of the child care workforce in working with children and families
  • Includes professional development conducted on an ongoing basis and provides for a progression of professional development that may include encouraging pursuit of postsecondary education
  • Reflects current research and best practices related to the skills necessary for the child care workforce to meet the developmental needs of participating children and engage families, which may include culturally and linguistically appropriate practices
  • Improves the quality, diversity, stability, and retention (including the use of financial incentives and compensation improvements) of the child care workforce

In addition, Lead Agencies must describe in their CCDF Plans their states’ professional development requirements for providers who care for children eligible for CCDF. These requirements must include the following:

  • Preservice or orientation training, which must be completed within 3 months of hire
  • Ongoing professional development for caregivers, teachers, and director
  • Alignment to the state framework for professional development to the extent practicable

The preservice or orientation training must be accessible, cover the health and safety standards as appropriate to the setting and ages of children served, and address the following:

  • The 11 critical health and safety standards for which training must be received before the caregiver is allowed to care for children unsupervised
  • The optional health and safety areas of nutrition, including age-appropriate feeding; access to physical activity; caring for children with special needs; and other Lead Agency-determined subject areas that promote child development or protect children’s health and safety
  • Child development, including the major domains of cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development and approaches to learning

The ongoing training must be accessible and aligned to a progression of professional development that includes a minimum number of annual hours of training for the child care workforce. It must be appropriate to the age and setting of the children served, and must also meet the following requirements:

  • Be maintained and updated to reflect the required health and safety standards
  • Incorporate knowledge and application of the state’s early learning and developmental guidelines for birth to kindergarten
  • Incorporate social-emotional behavior intervention models for children from birth through school age, which may include positive behavior intervention and support models, including preventing and reducing expulsions and suspensions of preschool-age and school-age children
  • Be appropriate, to the extent practicable, for a diverse population of children that includes
    • different age groups;
    • English language learners;
    • children with disabilities; and
    • Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians
  • Award, to the extent practicable, continuing education units or be credit-bearing
  • Be accessible to the child care workforce supported through Indian tribes or tribal organizations that receive CCDF funding

The Office of Child Care (OCC) requires that states report the number of hours of training required annually for CCDF-eligible providers. [2]

It should be noted that CCDF does not require child care providers to acquire credentials in order to serve children receiving CCDF assistance. However, states are in no way prohibited from requiring providers to be credentialed in order to serve children in the CCDF program. 


[1] CCDBG Act of 2014 658(c)(2)(G), (I), (T); Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. § 98.44 (2016).

[2] CCDBG Act of 2014 658(c)(2)(G), (I), (T); Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. § 98.44 (2016).