Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!

Innovation Name Innovation Type Innovation Subtype Features at a Glance Strategy Summary
Alabama Data Dashboard Infrastructure Systems Data Systems

Data Visualization Tool

The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education's Data Dashboard is a data visualization tool. It provides demographic and program information for public use on the state's First Class Pre-K program and other services offered by the Department, including First Teacher Home Visiting and Preschool to 3rd Grade Continuum sites.

Learn more/source: alabama data dashboard
Child Care Workforce Stabilization Grant (CCWS) Workforce Bonuses and Supplemental Pay

$1,500 – $3,000 bonus per educator per quarter

Since November 2021, Alabama educators in licensed child care programs have been eligible for quarterly bonus payments of $3,000 (full-time employees) or $1,500 (part-time employees). These bonuses are designed to help recruit and retain educators as the early education field continues to recover from the pandemic. Bonuses are delivered to educators via a grant to the child care programs that employ them; since the program began, the state has administered grants to nearly 7,000 programs across the state. In the last quarter of 2022, nearly 12,000 educators received a bonus through this program. Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, the program is slated to end in September 2023.

Learn More: Alabama Department of Human Resources


Alabama Department of Human Resources. (2021). Alabama DHR Announces Grants for Stabilizing Child Care Workforce.

Alabama Department of Human Resources (2023). Application period starts next week for 6th round of child care bonuses.

Early Childhood Educator Apprenticeship Workforce Apprenticeships

Part of Federal Registered Apprenticeship Program

Established in 2021, the Early Childhood Educator (ECE) Apprenticeship is a partnership between the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE), Wallace State Community College, Troy Univesity-Dothan, and Athens State University to increase opportunities to enter the early education workforce. Students can train in early education programs in 15 counties. The ECE Apprenticeship provides on-the-job training with a mentor, and participants complete related technical instruction from institutions of higher education. Apprentices can obtain stackable credentials, including a Child Development Associate certification, an associate degree, and/or a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, all while employed with a child care provider. Apprentices pay no cost to participate, and they earn progressive wage increases while they are learning. To offset the cost of the apprenticeship for the employer, all apprentices submit a FAFSA and apply for TEACH scholarships, Leadership in Childcare Scholarships, and C3 Scholarships. They also work with a business service representative to seek additional funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and other grants. Any remaining costs are covered by ADECE and the Coleman Center for Early Learning and Family Enrichment at Troy University.

Learn More: Alabama Works!


Alabama Works!. (n.d.). Alabama's first apprenticeship for early educators established.

WAFF. (2023). Early Childhood Educator Apprenticeship program could help combat Alabama’s teacher shortage.

ADECE Coaching Workforce Professional Learning

Includes training and coaching

The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) provides coaching and technical assistance support to early childhood programs across the state. Under the Office of Early Childhood Development, ADECE offers a variety of programs, including Early Head Start–Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) Coaching, which provides coaching and technical assistance for programs (childcare and family child care) in the EHS-CCP partnership; First Class Foundations Coaching for educators in the state-funded First Class pre-K program; DHR–ASSIST, which provides coaching and technical assistance related to social emotional learning and resilience for adults and children in child care and family child care; and Quality Rating and Improvement coaching and technical assistance to early childhood programs to support teacher and child interactions in the classroom.

Learn More: Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education


Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education. (n.d.). Professional Development.

Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education. (2021). Alabama Early Childhood B-8 Coaching Framework.

First Class Pre-K Salary Parity Workforce Pay Scales and Parity

Lead teacher in community-based settings: $39,301; lead teacher in public school settings: salary as provided by local school system salary matrix

In 2015, Alabama enacted a salary parity policy to ensure that First Class Pre-K teachers in all types of settings were paid the same as educators in comparable roles in public K-12 schools. This policy was introduced in part to address high levels of turnover among community-based early educators. This pay paritypolicy applies to both lead and auxiliary (assistant) teachers in all settings. Alabama's First Class pre-K program provides pre-K services for 4-year-old children in many types of settings, including public schools, community-based centers, Head Start programs, faith-based programs, and military programs. In addition to salary parity, this policy also provides First Class Pre-K teachers with one hour of daily planning time and seven paid planning days per year, which is equivalent to the planning time that similarly educated K-12 educators receive.

Learn More: Child Trends Report: Alabama Salary Parity


Gebhart, T., Carlson, J., Harris, P., & Epstein, D. (2020). Workforce Perceptions and Experiences with the Alabama Early Care and Education Salary Parity Policy, Child Trends.

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. (2017). Alabama First Class Pre-K.

Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education Infrastructure Systems Administrative + Governance Models

An executive order established the Alabama Children’s Policy Council, which coordinates services across the state through a local entity in each county.

In 2015, the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education was created as an executive department of state government, replacing the Department of Children’s Affairs, to oversee programs that support young children in the state. This cabinet-level agency is led by a secretary who reports to the governor.  Within the department, four offices guide the state’s early childhood priorities: the Office of School Readiness, the Office of Early Learning and Family Support, the Head Start Collaboration Office, and the Office of Child Development and Professional Support. The Alabama Children’s Policy Council, which coordinates services across the state through a local entity in each county, was created by executive order in 2015, the same year the Department was renamed. 

Learn more: Education Commission of the States


Education Commission of the States (2018). Education Governance Dashboard State Profile Alabama. 

Download This Table

Demographics Link copied!

State population

5,074,296 Source U.S. Census, 2022

Rural %

42.3% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Urban %

57.7% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Number of children age 0-4

291,802 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty

48% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Median family income among households with children

$69,100.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Unemployment rate

2.8% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022

Unemployment rate of parents

3% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force

65% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

26% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Download This Chart

Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Race and Ethnicity

  • American Indian and Alaska Native (.5%)
  • Asian (1%)
  • Black or African American (29%)
  • Hispanic or Latino (8%)
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (2.5%)
  • Two or More Races (4%)
  • White, not Hispanic or Latino (57%)
Download This Chart

Political Landscape Link copied!

Source: Ballotpedia 2023

Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

Public pre-K program name

Alabama First Class Pre-K (FCPK) Source NIEER, 2022

Universal or targeted pre-K policy

Targeted Pre-K Policy (4-year-olds) Source NIEER, 2022

Download This Chart

Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (0%)
  • 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (10%)
  • Other/none (90%)
Download This Chart

Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (36%)
  • 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (5%)
  • Other/none (59%)
Download This Chart

Workforce Link copied!

2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source: CSCCE


  • Child care workers
  • Preschool teachers
  • Preschool or child care center directors
Download This Chart

Funding Sources Link copied!

Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022

Funding source

  • Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($146.6)
  • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($146.9)
  • CCDBG State Match ($6.6)
  • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($986.1)
  • State-Funded Pre-K ($127.4)
  • MIECHV ($6.7)
  • IDEA Part C ($9.8)
  • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($8.8)
  • TANF Early Learning and Care Expenditures ($34.9)
  • Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five ($14.5)
Download This Chart

Funding acronyms: CCDBG: Child Care and Development Block Grant; CARES Act: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; CRRSE Act: Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations; ARPA: American Rescue Plan Act; CCDF: Child Care and Development Fund; MIECHV: Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The COVID Funding Cliff

All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including more than 33,000 children in Alabama.