The following story was inspired by the testimony Family Child Care Provider Sue Carrera gave at the July 11th California Senate Human Services Committee in Sacramento in support of AB676
I love the work that I do as a child care provider. I love seeing the children in my care grow from baby talk to learning their ABC’s and 1,2.3’s
When I started many years ago as a child care provider, I learned how to help children learn and keep them safe, but I had no idea just how physically demanding and strenuous this job would be on my own body or that many of these injuries could be avoided with the right training.
To complicate things even more, many child care providers are living on the edge of poverty. We are significantly underpaid and receive very few job-based benefits like health insurance or workers compensation.
Backaches, knee pain, sore shoulders and cramped hands are just some of the injuries I have suffered while on the job. When I was injured, I could not close my child care for even a day to recover. My family was counting on my income and the parents I serve were counting on my care.
To add insult to injury, I had no health care. My only two options were to pay out of pocket or suck it up. Often, I did not have the money to see a doctor, so I sucked it up and worked through the pain. I wish I knew when I became a child care provider how to protect and care for myself. Unfortunately for me after all these years and injuries, it is too late. But it does not have to be for the next generation of child care providers.
I’m proud to support AB 676 because every child care worker deserves to obtain the skills and knowledge they need to prevent injuries and stay healthy on the job. The training proposed in AB 676 will address some of the most common risks child care providers face in their work – from toxic chemicals to illness, to stress and physical hazards.
What’s really remarkable about this bill is the approach to provide training through our peers. I know from teaching and learning the crucial skills that child care providers are uniquely qualified to understand and identify the risks in our work.
Together we can lift up our sisters on the job and learn strategies to avoid such career-ending conditions.
This training approach also helps providers satisfy the 105 hours of professional growth required to renew our child development permits. And most importantly, this training ensures that we can continue to care for children and their families. If we cannot care for ourselves, how can we care for others?