December 12, 2018
Family child care providers help California’s working families get through their days, honor their commitments, and realize their goals. But, even though they perform an essential service, family child care workers struggle to meet their own needs because of low pay, unpredictable payment schedules, and an unnecessarily complicated licensing process.
“We are an important part of our communities.” Pat Alexander, Elk Grove.
That’s what California Childcare Providers United (CCPU-UDW) member Pat Alexander explained to Jason Sisney, Speaker of the Assembly’s chief budget consultant, when he visited her family child care on November 26. As the ten children in her care that day played peacefully with in the duplo area, the play kitchen, or the other stations carefully designed by Early Childhood Education standards, Pat walked Sisney through her home. She explained how what looks like play is actually developing children’s intellectual abilities and preparing them for kindergarten. She explained how the integrate books like Pete the Cat with Pete the Cat toys to reinforce reading concepts. And she explained how eligibility and payment problems can lead to her going without pay—and parents to lose precious care hours.
Sisney’s visit to Pat’s home was an important part of CCPU’s work to improve California’s child care system for providers and families. Alone, providers can’t get heard by legislators and other officials that make important decisions. When we come together into a union, we get their attention and our voices are heard. And the one thing Pat made sure that Sisney heard is that family child care providers need to have collective bargaining rights to make our programs better for everyone.
“Everybody else has a right to be at the table,” Pat told Sisney, “Why can’t we?”
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