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Blog California Child Care Voices 0 Comments

Keep the Flowers — I’ll Take a Livable Wage and Access to Childcare

While mothers will be showered with flowers and brunches this Mother’s Day, what millions of California moms really need is access to quality, affordable child care.

Eboni Warren, a mother of a 2-year old daughter and an Associate Teacher for Head Start YMCA in Berkeley, California says, “I’m proud to be a part of the Fight for $15 that made California the nation’s leader in lifting wages.  With a daughter of my own, however, I know that is not enough. On $15 an hour, paying for child care is still impossible. California must make an investment in working women by expanding access to quality child care, and ensuring no early educators are excluded from the dignity of living wages. We ALL need $15 and a union to move out of poverty.”

Today, one million California children ages 0-5 lack the early education studies show closes the achievement gap and paves the way for success in school and life.  California also falls fall short on a key measure of child care quality: wages for child care providers.

Child care workers are already among the lowest-paid workers in the country, with median hourly wages 39.3% lower than workers in other occupations. Nationwide, nearly half of child care providers are forced to rely on public assistance for things like food, health care and housing.

Family Child Care Providers who care for children through state subsidized child care programs are not covered by California’s landmark minimum wage increase because they are not considered employees of the state.  Their wages average between $5-$8 an hour – or one-third the $15 minimum effective in 2022.

“Eboni is a partner in moving my family forward; she helps me succeed as a working mom,” said Elizabeth Brooks, a parent from Richmond, CA. “She empowers me to go to school knowing my child is safe and learning. Affordable child care is getting harder to find, and child care workers are leaving the profession because of stagnant wages. California must do better for women like me to succeed.”

The Raising California Together Coalition is working to expand access to quality, affordable early care and education, starting with ensuring that family child care providers, who are not covered by minimum wage laws, also have a path to $15 an hour.

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