Did you know that today, May Day, is more than just a celebration of spring? Across the globe, May 1 is International Workers’ Day, a day to celebrate the contributions of workers worldwide while advocating for workers’ rights.
Said one family child care provider at a recent All Our Kin workshop,
Besides ourselves, our families, and All Our Kin, there is no recognition for our work and our efforts to be more professional.
Providers who come to us often echo this statement. Though they are crucial resources to our neighborhoods and communities, serving as many children’s primary caregivers and first teachers, they are not treated as such. They tell us that they feel disrespected and isolated by society and even within the field of early childhood care and education.
All caregivers, both parents and the child care workforce, are deeply undersupported and undercompensated for their work caring for children. Parents, especially single parents, simply cannot enter and remain in the workforce without affordable, quality, dependable child care. And yet, there aren’t even enough child care slots to meet the need that working parents have, much less enough spaces in settings that provide children with quality early learning experiences. What’s worse, we know that the child care that is available costs more than a mortgage payment for many low and middle-income families.
But, as Ms. Foundation describes in More to Do: The Road to Equality for Women in the United States, high child care costs don’t translate into a fairly paid child care workforce. In fact, only 20 of 821 occupations have lower average wages than child care workers. Committed to meeting the child care needs of low-income families in their neighborhoods, many of the providers All Our Kin works with charge no more than what the Care4Kids state child care subsidy pays. And yet, these rates have not been raised in over ten years.
Despite the challenging context in which their work takes place, the providers that come to All Our Kin continuously strive for excellence in their field, demonstrating a deep commitment to providing quality early experiences to children and reliable, accessible child care options for parents. We are continuously inspired by these providers’ resiliency, perseverance, and strength. Their passion and dedication are key to the success of the families they serve, and we are proud to support them in their difficult work.
Let family child care providers know you care. Recognize their work. Recognize their efforts. In honor of May Day, email email@example.com or post on our Facebook page your words of support and appreciation for family child care providers. We will share your comments with providers at our next Network meeting!
Looking for May Day activities in New Haven? Check out maydaynewhaven.org.