Child Development Permit Overview

California currently has a multiple level Child Development Permit authorizing services in the care, development, and education of young children in a variety of settings. Each permit level has its own requirements and options for meeting these requirements. The Child Development Permit structure serves as a career ladder and lattice so that permit holders can progress towards higher levels of the permit over the course of their career in early childhood education. For permit applications or specific questions regarding requirements please contact

Child Development Permit Information and Resources

Child Development Permit Workgroup

From 2015-2017, a Child Development Permit Advisory Panel of Early Childhood Education (ECE) content experts met to review and make recommendations to update the Permit Matrix. The recommendations were tabled by the Commission, however, they did move forward with adopting the ECE Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs) and the ECE Program Guidelines in 2019 as development of the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care was launched and subsequently published in December 2020.

The Commission is relooking at the work of the 2017 Child Development Permit Advisory Panel in view of the Master Plan, the transition to a competency-based system of preparation and licensure for the early childhood workforce, and the advent of UPK and the PK-3 ECE Specialist Instruction Credential. Any potential changes to the Permit Matrix should support the direction indicated in the Master Plan relating to ECE workforce development, be consistent with a competency-based system of preparation and licensure and meet the changing needs of early learning and care programs.

The application for those interested in serving on the Child Development Permit Workgroup opened on June 29, 2023, and the deadline for completed applications was July 19, 2023. The Commission’s Executive Director, based on the applicants’ areas of expertise, knowledge of Early Childhood Education, background qualifications, regional representation, and demographics, appointed 28 individuals from higher education, county offices of education, education agencies, and public and private child development centers to serve on the workgroup. 

The Child Development Permit focus on the following questions: 

  1. How should the current permit structure be revised, updated, and/or modified to ensure that early childhood educators, early childhood education program administrators, and those who provide before and after-school care based on holding a school-age permit authorization are adequately prepared for their job roles, considering the recommendations outlined in the Master Plan, the knowledge and skills needed to meet the multifaceted educational and developmental needs of children, working effectively in partnership with parents/guardians to promote children’s learning and development, and meeting the needs of employers for well qualified ECE staff? 
  2. How can the State best monitor and ensure quality in preparation of the ECE workforce within the resources available? 
  3. How should the TPEs be reorganized to align with the proposed new structure for the Child Development Permit?

The Child Development Workgroup held eight meetings from August 2023 to June 2024.  We invited the public to join the workgroup meetings and offer public comment in a variety of ways during the meeting. The Child Development Permit Workgroup was facilitated with support from WestEd’s Region 15 Comprehensive Center.

CDP Workgroup Celebration - July 19, 2024, 9:00 am -12:00 pm. Register here.

As the work of the CDP Workgroup has concluded, the field will have multiple opportunities to provide input into draft proposed modifications to the Permit structure as determined by the Commission and to ensure quality in the preparation of the ECE workforce within available resources. Updates to the Commission on the progress of the Child Development Permit Workgroup were made in October 2023 and February and June 2024. CDP Workgroup recommendations are anticipated to go to the Commission in August 2024. CDP Workgroup meeting summaries for meetings one, twothreefourfivesix, and seven provide information on the workgroup’s work to date.

Child Development Permits Data Dashboard

The Child Development Permits Data Dashboard provides information on child development permits issued in the last five years.

Status on the PK-3 ECE Specialist Instruction Credential

On August 26, 2022, the Commission adopted proposed regulations to establish the PK-3 Early Childhood Specialist Instruction Credential.  At its October 2022 meeting, the Commission adopted proposed preconditions, program standards, and performance expectations for the PK-3 Early Childhood Specialist Instruction Credential. See Agenda Item 5A Proposed Regulations for PK-3 EC Specialist Instruction Credential.  The regulations address the structure of the credential, including the authorization, credential requirements, and provisions for current teachers to add the authorization.

While the Commission has begun accepting Initial Program Review (IPR) Intent to Submit Forms and IPR program proposals for the PK-3 ECE credential, the regulatory packet submitted to the Office of Administrative Law is still moving through the approval process. The packet will establish the credential requirements in law. Therefore, no PK-3 ECE credential program can be given full approval by the Committee on Accreditation until the regulatory package has been approved. The PK-3 ECE Specialist Instruction Credential Webpage will provide updates on approval of the regulatory package and information will also be made available in the ECE News Update and the PSD News. 

The recording of the Commission meetings is available on the  Commission’s website. For future updates on this credential please watch for information included in the PSD News, ECE News Updates, and Commission meeting agendas.

Several webinars have been held to facilitate the understanding of the requirements and standards related to the PK-3 ECE Specialist Instruction Credential. These are all available on the PK-3 ECE Specialist Instruction Credential Webpage in addition to an FAQ document. Recordings and resources have been added to this page.

Reframing Preparation for the Early Childhood Workforce

California has been working over the past seven years on several foundational activities to reframe the preparation of the early childhood workforce from a system now largely based on seat time and units to a competency-based system of preparation, assessment, and licensure leading to sustained professional growth and development of the trajectory of an early childhood educator’s career.

ECE Teaching Performance Expectations and ECE Program Guidelines

The Commission has developed several significant pieces of supporting infrastructure, including the development and adoption of Child Development Permit job-role based candidate competencies, or “Early Childhood Education Teaching Performance Expectations.” and a set of standards for preparation program quality known as the “Early Childhood Preparation Program Guidelines (April 2019).” These elements help to guide programs towards a competency based system of preparation.

The Master Plan for Early Learning and Care

California’s new Master Plan for Early Learning and Care, published in December 2020, provides a new statewide direction for developing and supporting the ECE workforce. This work is a significant part of the reframing process of the workforce. The Master Plan includes a framework and implementation plan to realize the vision of ensuring that all California children thrive physically, emotionally, and educationally in their early years through access to high-quality early learning and care resources; equitable opportunities for the workforce that advance equitable outcomes for children; and greater efficiencies to the state today and every day through structures for continuous improvement. 

The Commission’s work under the PDG-R grant is consistent with the vision and direction embodied in the Master Plan that included four distinct pilot opportunities that offered preparation for the ECE workforce. The pilots were operational during the PDG-R grant funded period of July 1, 2020-December 31, 2023. The four pilots included: (1) TPEs implementation pilot, (2) Program Guidelines pilot, (3) ECE formative Teaching Performance Assessment pilot, and (4) Program Quality Peer Review (accreditation) pilot.

Design Team for Development of the new ECE Formative Teaching Performance Assessment CalFTPA (Pilot 3)

The CTC has completed a two-year initiative to design an Early Childhood Education California Formative Teaching Performance Assessment (ECE CalFTPA) based on the revised Early Childhood Education Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs) approved February 2019 (see CTC agenda item 4B). This formative performance assessment is specifically designed to assess the teacher permit level TPEs (which begin on page 17 of the TPE document). The CalFTPA presents an exciting opportunity for ECE educators to organize and coalesce around a common, manageable set of statewide competency expectations for the teacher permit workforce in a way that still allows programs to arrange their curriculum, instruction, and fieldwork (including practicum) experiences for ECE students to fit their own local situation and context. The Commission’s adopted teacher permit level TPEs provide a common framework for the preparation of ECE students but do not dictate to programs how they must organize and conduct their programs to incorporate the TPEs. Please direct any questions or concerns regarding requirements, implementation, or policy to

Communications with the Field

The Commission offers multiple ways for the field to contact staff and to stay in touch with ECE-related news, events, and activities. Communication links include:

Subscribe to the ECE News List

Information from the Professional Services Division regarding the Child Development Permit and its’ relationship to the ECE TPEs, Program Guidelines, formative Teaching Performance Assessment, and other ECE related activities is provided through ECE News Updates. Please Subscribe to the ECE News to receive these updates.

Contact Commission staff via the ECE Mailbox 

The mailbox is for general questions about child development permit preparation programs, and activities relating to the PK-3 ECE Specialist Instruction Credential.  For questions about permit requirements and applying for a Child Development Permit, please email

ECE Office Hours

Commission staff are continuing to hold bimonthly office hours for the ECE stakeholder community. Office hours provide an opportunity when ECE staff will be available to respond to questions, comments, and other informational needs.  ECE office hours will be held from 12-1 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month. 

Join ECE Office Hours: Zoom 

UPK Implementation Resources

New Resource from UPK - Transitional Kindergarten Educator Workforce Requirements & Pathways!

We are thrilled to share UPK's latest resource – the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Educator Workforce Requirements & Pathways document. This comprehensive guide offers insights into the credentialing requirements and sample pathways for those interested in becoming TK teachers. Whether you're an educator, administrator, or organization dedicated to education, this resource is designed to help build a diverse and robust educator pipeline for TK classrooms in California. 

Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) FAQs

The California Department of Education (CDE) and State Superintendent of Public Instruction fully support the Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) and Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program. The FAQ link includes broad information regarding UPK. The CDE is working to integrate earlier TK Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) into the broader UPK FAQs

UPK Teacher Pipeline Resource Compendium

The Resource Compendium provides summaries of the key investments and policy changes included in the 2022-2023 State Budget that support the professional development and recruitment of the California State Preschool Program (CSPP), Transitional Kindergarten (TK), and Kindergarten workforce. These investments can be leveraged to serve the goal of building a highly qualified, culturally, and linguistically diverse early education workforce. Several of these investments highlight the opportunities to utilize funds for activities specifically designed to support diversifying the workforce—for example, the Teacher Residency Grant Program and the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program. 

Preschool through Third Grade (P-3) Alignment 

The CDE’s P-3 Alignment effort is designed to bring together stakeholders across systems to identify, develop, and implement policy and practice solutions focused on ensuring developmentally informed, rigorous, and joyful learning experiences are available to all children across the preschool and early elementary years. The CDE is committed to using equity, inclusion, and quality standards that support effective learning experiences as guiding principles for data-driven decision-making about key P-3 strategies to meaningfully impact systems, programs, schools, and policies across the state. The P-3 Alignment resource page provided by the CDE reflect areas of focus to achieve these goals.

Bimonthly P-3 Newsletter

The California Department of Education provides bimonthly newsletters that share information on department news related to the CDE’s P-3 initiative, and include new resources and funding opportunities, spotlights on local P-3 implementation in action, and information on upcoming and recent P-3 related events. Please note that partner content is not endorsed by the CDE. To subscribe to the CDE’s P-3 listserv, email “subscribe” to

Updated July 01, 2024