The participation of women in politics is necessary to make public policies work for working mothers. Women within the childcare industry should be celebrated during Women’s History month for their strength and legislative power. Throughout time women have continued to make important strides in various industries that further the betterment of humanity. Child Care Providers United, represents 45,000 family child care providers 97% of whom are women, and the majority women of color. CCPU as an organization is a great way to celebrate the overall remarkability in Women’s History Month in the child care industry.
Women in the child care industry have carried a torch of resiliency, care, and love of early education. This has influenced the political landscape and reshaped the working family agenda. Many women across the US and California are embodying roles as caregivers, mother’s, history makers, educators, and lawmakers in the most profound ways.
On March 20, 2023, I interviewed Miren Algorri, a Family Licensed Child Care provider in San Diego County. Miren was delighted to share her experiences as a parent, expert in the child care industry, and the importance of supporting children’s needs. As a licensed child care provider, she believes in “helping families that may be underrepresented due to immigration status, ethnic background, and income status in California.” As a CCPU member, Algorri and other child care providers are bargaining at the state level to win higher wages, additional slots, and dignity for child care workers.
To Miren, Women’s History Month is a multifaceted way of “understanding trailblazers and changemakes in legislation including Ida B. Wells, Dolores Huerta, and Kamala Harris.” Miren went on to say, key themes of equity, and accessible child care services remain their priority. Her work at Child Care Providers United continues to solidify great strides for women of color and other Californian child care providers.
My name is Helen Torrez, and I am a family child care provider in Merced County. I’m not sure if you all have heard but because of new legislation that was passed last year (Senate Bill 792), there are some new immunizations required for family child care providers this year. I wanted to make sure that other providers were aware of this but also remind you to get your immunizations and your files with proof of immunizations for your daycare up to date.
The new rule requires that as of September 1, 2016, all family child care providers, as well as our daycare assistants and volunteers, must be immunized against influenza (flu), pertussis (whooping cough), and measles. You may be up-to-date on your pertussis and measles vaccinations since they are fairly common but you can check with your doctor to obtain your vaccination records and make sure you ask your staff to do the same.
Be sure to ask any new daycare assistants you may hire for their records that show they’ve been immunized as well. It’s ok if they need time to get their records from their doctor. They just have to sign a statement for you that says they have been immunized. Then the new assistant is able to work for you up to 30 days while they’re getting their vaccination records in order.
If you or your staff do not want the influenza vaccine, you need to sign a declaration stating you have declined it. However, if you, as a provider, or your staff do not opt out, it’s recommended that we get the influenza vaccine between August 1st and December 1st every year.
Be sure to keep your vaccination records or proof from a licensed physician that the vaccinations would be harmful to you or your staff, OR evidence of disease immunity from a licensed physician for yourself and your assistants or volunteers in your daycare’s personnel records. Licensing Program Analysts will be making sure that these documents are available in your personnel files and can review them when requested. The Licensing Program Analysts are able to cite us if a daycare is found in violation.
Keep in mind, these new rules regarding influenza, pertussis, and measles are in addition to the current requirement that we all obtain a written tuberculosis clearance.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Child Care Providers United of California (CCPU/UDW) at [email protected] or by phone at 1-888-226-7510.
Helen Torrez is a family child care provider in Merced County.
By Clyde Weiss, AFSCME, August 19, 2016
The need to make child care more affordable for families has been an issue in the Presidential race. But not enough attention has been given to the people – mostly women – who provide that care. That’s too bad, because nearly half of the nation’s child care workers are in families that receive food stamps, welfare or other federal support, according to a new report.
Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley found that, last year, 46 percent of child care providers lived in families enrolled in at least one of the social safety net programs: SNAP (food stamps), TANF (welfare), Medicaid or the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). That compares with slightly over a quarter of the total U.S. workforce that is enrolled in such programs.
These providers – an “almost exclusively female workforce,” according to the researchers – earn a median hourly wage of just $9.77. That’s less than a janitor is paid, on average. “Nationally, child care workers are nearly in the bottom percentile (second) when all occupations are ranked by annual earnings,” the report said.
“Our nation relies on their knowledge and skills to provide high-quality early care and education to our increasingly diverse population of children and families,” the authors wrote. “Yet our system of preparing, supporting, and rewarding early educators in the United States remains largely ineffective, inefficient, and inequitable.”
Without a change in state and federal policies that address this issue, they added, “our nation will remain unable to deliver on the promise of developmental and learning opportunities for all children.”
The authors – led by Marcy Whitebook, director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California-Berkeley – recommended several strategies to improve child care worker compensation, including identifying ongoing sources of funding “to ensure sustainable raises in base pay, in order to substantially improve the economic circumstances of early educators and to ensure the ability to attract and retain a skilled workforce.”
It will take political willpower to increase the wages of child care providers, but the consequences of not doing so may be felt by the next generation.
“We’re entrusting children to people who are really struggling to feed their own families,” said Whitebook in an interview about the report in the Washington Post. “They’re managing all this stress, which is distracting to all the important work they have to do.”
It’s at the state level where the changes must be made. “State policies play a powerful role in shaping early childhood jobs and, in turn, the quality of early learning experiences available to young children,” the report notes.
AFSCME, which represents thousands of child care workers nationwide, supports state initiatives to raise child care compensation. In California, UDW Homecare Providers Union/AFSCME Local 3930 is working with state lawmakers to raise subsidy rates for family child care providers who earn, on average, just $4.98 per hour after accounting for expenses, according to the coalition, “Raising California Together,” of which UDW is a member. Higher rates will make it “easier for them to afford their work-related expenses and keep their day cares open for business,” wrote UDW Exec. Dir. Doug Moore in a recent column on our blog.
“These problems add up to decreased access to quality, affordable child care and early learning opportunities for our children,” wrote Moore, also an AFSCME International vice president. “But there is a solution: Make an investment in family child care providers to increase families’ access to child care.”
Hillary Clinton, AFSCME’s endorsed candidate for President, is committed to raising wages for America’s child care workforce. “Hillary will create the Respect and Increased Salaries for Early Childhood Educators (RAISE) initiative,” her campaign website says. “In line with Clinton’s Care Workers Initiative, RAISE will fund and support states and local communities that work to increase the compensation of child care providers and early educators and provide equity with kindergarten teachers by investing in educational opportunities, career ladders, and professional salaries.”
AFSCME will work to elect Secretary Clinton so she can carry out her pledge to the nation’s child care workers. They – and the next generation – depend on her.