She works 10 or more hours a day at least six days a week for a wage she estimates at less than
On Monday night, Serrano and 40 other child care providers, all women and Latinas, gathered at a busy
They’re home-based providers who are demanding that the state, which subsidizes child care for low-income families, provide them with health insurance, a retirement plan and better pay.
“We need our voices to be heard,” he said
The protest was part of a national “A Day Without Child Care” call to action. Hundreds of providers across the country shut down their businesses for a day to send a message they need more support from state and federal government.
“The families need our care,” he said
The home-based providers said they also stayed open throughout the pandemic when other sites were closed. Many of them have bachelor’s degrees in early education. The children in their programs range from babies to teenagers. They take the older kids to and from school.
The providers open as early as
“I’ve known these families for 10 years, for 13 years, how am I not going to work with them?” Serrano said. “I want to help the families.”
What we know: Could 6 of 10
They said their voices too often go unheard and their needs unmet. the
A year ago, the union reached its first-ever collective bargaining agreement with the state, bringing a 15% minimum raise for providers who deliver care to low-income families subsidized by the state. A union representative said discussions with the state are ongoing on health care benefits and retirement contributions.
The low wages and the pandemic forced have worsened the national shortage of child care services. A national survey conducted last summer found that 4 in 5 early childhood learning and care centers were understaffed. Providers across the country said the problem has pushed some of them into lower-stress, higher-paying jobs at warehouses and chain restaurants.
Read more: Caregiver fatigue left millions suffering in silence during COVID-19
“Child care workers in our state are paid some of the lowest wages compared to other occupations,” said
“There is just an assumption that women will subsidize a lack of investment by continuing to provide this care and that has been a case for decades,” she said. “It’s time for state and federal leaders to recognize the critical nature of this work and to provide adequate resources.”
“It would be catastrophic,” she said.
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