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Early Childhood Evaluation Hub: Stabilization and Sustainability Activities and Spotlight on External Research Partner, Dr. Ann Wacker


Stabilization and Sustainability Activities

One set of activities supported by stimulus funding aims to sustain and stabilize the early childhood sector. This includes grants that support:

  • Sustainability: Supplementing compensation for early childhood professionals at licensed and qualified child care centers, and strengthening supportive work environments with the goal of reducing turnover.
  • Stabilization: Addressing revenue gaps so child care providers remain open and maintain the availability of licensed care.
  • Family Financial Relief: Reducing the cost of child care for families in participating child care programs.

Spotlight on External Research Partner Dr. Ann Wacker

The Colorado Lab selected the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver, under the direction of Ann Wacker, PhD, to evaluate these activities. Dr. Wacker has extensive experience leading studies in early care and education with a focus on equitable access to quality child care.

“In this study, we will look at the application process, how grant funds are being used, and short-term outcomes. The outcomes might include things like whether child care centers were able to remain open throughout the pandemic, the ability to retain staff, and the affordability of early child care and learning for families,” Dr. Wacker said. “Because we know that federal stimulus funds are limited, we are particularly interested in learning more about what makes the biggest difference so that we can pinpoint what is needed to sustain and grow these supports.”

Dr. Wacker emphasizes her passion for this study, both professionally and personally. “My PhD dissertation focused on the experiences of the early childhood education (ECE) workforce, so I am very aware of the many challenges the ECE system faces in terms of supporting the workforce. And, as the parent of a three year old, I know that child care is expensive. Learning how to make care more affordable for families is so important.”

Dr. Ann Wacker

To learn more about the Early Childhood Stimulus Evaluation Hub, visit our website or contact Dr. Whitney LeBoeuf.