For 19 years, I have been providing children ages 0-13 with a quality early learning program in Boyle Heights.  Monday through Friday from 5:30 am to 6:00 pm, I provide childcare for hardworking families who are on the frontlines as nurses, assistants, and aides. I am proud to provide children with a quality early learning program and give working parents peace of mind. But sadly, my daycare is in the middle of a child care desert. Our neighborhood has never had enough child care providers to cover the needs of families.

During this crisis, family childcare providers, like me, have been the ones supporting distance learning and giving children stability by helping them with their schoolwork, keeping them on track while online, and investing in cleaning equipment to keep them safe. To do my job to the best of my ability, I had to use every penny I gained to purchase additional pencils, paper, ink, desks, headphones, whiteboards, ethernet cables, and hot spots. I have also made investments in cleaning, sanitation, and protective equipment. But I have struggled with the extra costs to keep up with the demand.

I know during this crisis; many providers have struggled, and many have had to close their doors. This has only made the childcare desert worse.

I have mothers who are desperately trying to figure out how they can afford care for not one, but three of their children, while they are working.

As our communities are slowly opening back up and parents are returning to work, they need access to quality, affordable childcare. And their children need consistency to get back on track after the disruption of this pandemic.

This is why I am glad the State of California has started listening to us, to our union Child Care Providers United.

We recently reached COVID-relief agreements with the state that will help stabilize childcare providers to make sure more do not close. It will increase investment to help new providers open their doors. And it will make it possible for closed providers to re-open.

But these agreements are only the beginning. To create lasting change and make sure there are no more child care deserts, childcare providers across California need a strong contract with long-term solutions, not just short-term fixes.

Join Adriana and thousands of family child care providers in California who are negotiating a contract with the state to increase access to quality, affordable child care for all working families. Sign the petition.