Today, in response to Governor Newsom’s announcement regarding expanding early learning programs for 4-year-olds, Max Arias, Chair of Child Care Providers United, released the following statement:
“We support Governor Newsom’s desire to invest in early care and education, as seen in his announcements today and on Sunday. We all know there is a record surplus in California. We are eager to hear the governor’s proposal on addressing the crisis of low pay plaguing the child care industry, which requires urgent attention.
“California’s youngest children, families who work irregular hours, and families seeking care for children with special needs and diverse backgrounds are the ones who disproportionately rely on family child care. Despite this critical human infrastructure role, child care providers’ rates have not increased in years. Their rates are incongruously low, given the vital work providers do in caring for and educating young children. Like too many workers of color and female workers, child care providers are not receiving the pay they need to support their own families and keep their doors open.
“Child care providers have called for the funding necessary to meet today’s basic cost of living in California. While workers have seen a 55% increase in California’s minimum wage since 2015, child care providers have failed to receive any type of rate increase, all while having to bear the increase in costs themselves when they pay their assistants. Our proposal would go a long way, and yet, even then, it would barely put providers at an adequate pay level.
“This funding will begin to stabilize the child care industry to keep providers’ doors open to serve parents returning to the workforce, particularly women. The Senate and the Assembly have responded to this call and have proposed investing in providers. Now, we call on the governor to work towards these solutions at the bargaining table to support both parents and child care providers.
“While the governor’s proposal today will connect some four-year-olds who lack quality early learning to available options, our members continue to raise the more immediate crisis we see every day. We urge the legislature and governor to seriously fund investments for 0-3-year-olds, for families who work irregular hours, and for all child care providers, including stabilization funding for providers whom this proposed expansion could negatively impact. Taking these steps will address systemic inequities and make life easier for all working families.”