This is the first of an upcoming blog series, Beyond the Brink: The Impact of California’s Broken Child Care System by Raising California Together. The series will shed more light on what it’s really like to work in California as a child care provider.
The California child care system is broken. All across the state, parents are struggling to pay for quality child care – while child care providers struggle to earn a living wage.
The providers featured in this series share how overlapping challenges undermine fairness and job quality for providers, and the crucial role they play in the economic wellbeing of working families and the early development of children.
Family child care providers are barely getting by. With low wages, many are forced to live on public assistance, are not able to save for retirement, and often have to pay out of pocket to maintain their child care centers.
Despite these hardships, a common thread exists in all of these providers stories: they care deeply for the children and community they serve and continue to do so regardless of the impact it has on their own ability to care for themselves. We cannot simply applaud these providers for their selflessness; we must actually change the child care system to raise the quality of life for everyone.
Many of the providers featured in this book care for the children of working parents who earn low wages. Often times these parents’ low wages and volatile work schedules create a burden for both providers as well as parent. But who bears this burden the most? The children. Those children have the most to gain high quality early child care, care that provides them with the foundation they need to excel in school.
We have big dreams and goals for California’s children. That is why parents, providers and advocates are uniting to:
1) Family child care providers, parents, and children have made some progress already in 2015. Thanks to legislative budget improvements 6,800 more California children will have access to affordable child care, and providers won modest rate increases after a decade of cuts and freezes.
2) We now have the opportunity to raise up the child care profession by establishing a baseline training program that will reach every family child care provider participating in California’s state-funded child care system.
3) We must do more—parents, children and providers are counting on it.
Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing providers stories hoping to shed light on some of the hardships child care providers face and offer valuable insights into how we can begin to repair this broken system.