Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Child care providers plan to close May 9 to demand federal help

Child care providers across the country are planning protests and shutdowns on Monday in hopes of reminding federal and state lawmakers they are in dire need of government aid.

Officials from Community Change, the progressive grassroots group leading the effort, told HuffPost that nearly 300 providers from 25 states have already signed up to share what they’re saying.A Day Without Child Care: National Day of Action,

In a conference call on Thursday, several participating providers talked about their plight as they try to stay in business at a time when they can’t pay enough to attract and keep workers — And when they can’t ask families to pay more because many parents are already grappling with the high costs of child care.

“We can’t wait any longer,” said brittanya bay, a provider from West Texas that will close its doors on Monday and help lead a march to the Texas State Capitol in Austin. ,Our families are out of options. It seems like we all know child care is essential, but it’s time for the world to realize what it’s like to spend a day without childcare right now, to stop it from becoming our permanent reality. ,

The demonstrations will come at a time when the possibilities of making a law are being expressed. Major New Federal Initiative on Child Care Looks thin.

President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress had hoped to implement one as part of their “Build Back Better” legislation. But the law relied on almost unanimous support among Democrats in Congress because Republicans would not support it, and a lone Democratic senator — Joe Manchin of West Virginia — effectively killed the law in December when he criticized its overall size and structure. objected.

“It is time for the world to realize what it is like to spend a day without child care, to prevent this from becoming our permanent reality.”

– Hair provider from Britannia Bay, Texas

munchkin, whose Components of West Virginia Others dealing with child care problems similar to Americans have said he is interested in passing a concise piece of legislation. But that effort too has stalled. In recent public statements, they have not mentioned early childhood programs as a provision they envision as part of the final bill.

Frustration with the situation – and the lack of federal action in general – was a big topic on Thursday’s conference call.

“Congress had a lot of opportunities to address this, but they let us down over and over again,” Baez said.

A new crisis and an old problem

American child care problems have celebrated for decadesAlthough until recently he had not received much attention in Washington, especially among men who most power,

in contrast to most peer nationThe United States does not treat child care as a public good or guarantee access to families who need it. Instead, the hope is that working parents will find a way to largely pay for child care on their own, with limited federal, state, or local government support available. only in some cases and only for some people,

The resulting system can be difficult for everyone who is a part of it.

“The scale of the child care problem is not something locals can solve on their own.”

—Janna Rodriguez, child care provider from New York

Families that are not wealthy find it difficult to find and then pay providers who take good care of their children. Providers, unable to raise fees, have difficulty hiring and then capturing well-qualified workers.

For workers – who are mostly women and disproportionately, women of color – it is difficult to survive on their meager paychecks. As of 2018, more than half were in some form of public assistance. Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California-Berkeley.

these problems worsened during the pandemic, During its initial stages, pPublic health protocols and COVID-19 related absenteeism reduced both staff availability and revenue for providers. Recently, as caseloads have fallen and activity has increased, providers have not been able to raise enough wages to keep up with retail and hospitality businesses that draw from the same labor pool.

“I’ve experienced not being able to compete with retail stores like Walmart, which are starting to pay $11 an hour,” said Kelly Dawn Jones, a child care provider in Indianapolis.

In all, at least 15,000 providers were closed during the pandemic, while one in three working families reported having a harder time finding child care, according to a range of estimates. Childhood advocacy organization And Independent Researcher,

a push for federal action

Things would have been much worse if it weren’t for temporary COVID-19 relief measures that could have prevented an additional 75,000 providers from closing, According to a report by Century Foundation,

The idea of ​​the Democratic initiative at Build Back Better was to provide even more government support for long-term child care by making subsidies available to nearly all working families – which in turn would enable providers to charge higher prices. Can support a better-paid workforce.

It’s possible that talks may resume on some version of that initiative—or that Congress will find some other way to support child care, perhaps through a bipartisan, less ambitious effort.

State and local authorities can also act on their own, as some are already doing.

For example, in July, San Francisco will begin spending $60 million annually to increase child care workers’ wages, implementing a plan that voters approved in 2018. The program would set an hourly wage of $28, which is close to the city’s pay. Public school teachers build in the hopes of bridging a severe labor shortage that has left families searching for care.

But these isolated efforts will, by definition, have different effects – a point providers expect their performances to emphasize.

“The scale of the child care problem is not something that locals can solve on their own,” said Janna Rodriguez, a provider in Freeport, New York. “We are one of the richest countries in the world and we have the money we need for our families.”


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