BY JEANNE KUANG
Gabriela Guerrero’s children are all grown and have moved out, but the former stay-at-home mom never stopped raising kids.
The children who attend her home daycare in El Centro, in Imperial County near the Mexico border, are as young as 3 months old. Some are the children of farmworkers who drop them off at Guerrero’s house before their shifts in the pre-dawn hours. Nearly all are from families poor enough to qualify for state subsidies.
Many of the families can’t afford basic needs, Guerrero said, so the 57-year-old makes sure to provide their children with milk, diapers and sometimes clothes.
“I want the families to go to work knowing that (their children are) well taken care of, and they’re being loved and fed correctly,” she said.
Guerrero’s labor of love barely earns her a living. After paying two assistants and other costs, she figures she takes home about $3 or $4 an hour. She takes on credit card debt to keep her business going.
For years family child care providers — the vast majority of them women of color — have said they don’t get paid enough by the state of California to cover the costs of their businesses. Their fight for better pay and benefits, a two-decades-old effort, is reaching a fever pitch in California’s capital this year.
They’re pressing Gov. Gavin Newsom to raise their pay, and they have the Legislature on their side. Lawmakers put $1 billion for raises in their version of a state budget that they passed last week. That funding remains one of the key differences between Newsom and the Legislature as they hammer out a budget deal before July 1 that accounts for an estimated $32 billion deficit.
Read more at calmatters.org.