For Immediate Release 

June 12, 2024

Contact: Maya Polon, [email protected]

 

EVENT LIVESTREAM FOOTAGE AVAILABLE HERE

At Candlelight Vigil, Child Care Providers, Legislators, and Advocates Call on Governor to Keep His Promises: Fair Pay for Child Care Providers and Access for California’s Working Families

SACRAMENTO, CA – Members from Child Care Providers United (CCPU), representing 40,000 child care providers who care for children in state subsidized programs, led a candlelight vigil at the State Capitol on Tuesday, calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to keep promises of fair pay for this woman-of-color led workforce and increasing access to the care working families need to lift their families out of poverty. Child care providers were joined by Parent Voices members and leaders of the Legislative Women’s Caucus as they sang songs and held flickering candles into the night, just days before the June 15th deadline for a state budget to be passed.

In contracts signed with providers in 2021 and 2023, Newsom’s administration committed to revamp the way child care providers are paid, moving away from poverty pay rates to a structure that values child care providers and covers the the full cost of providing quality child care, from nutritious food and internet needed for students to complete homework, to time spent driving, cleaning, and teaching. However, the state has missed contractual deadlines and has yet to demonstrate that it will meet the urgency of supporting this essential workforce. The Legislature’s version of the budget announced last week calls for a trailer bill to ensure timely implementation of “rate reform” in 2025.

“Providers like me devote countless hours to nurturing and educating infants, toddlers, and school-age children, but despite our significant contribution to the economy and our families, many of us struggle to make ends meet,” shared Rasiene Reece, a child care provider in Victorville. “In the fifth largest economy in the world, poverty wages for the workforce providing high-quality early learning cannot be normalized or accepted. The state must do more to ensure that working parents are not struggling to find quality, affordable care for their children. We must do more to retain and recruit child care providers. Because funding child care funds our state’s economy.”

Newsom’s May Revision budget proposal retreated from a promise to expand child care access for families living on the edge of poverty, calling for an indefinite pause of progress towards the 200,000 additional “slots” promised, and proposing to clawback of thousands of slots already awarded. At the vigil, providers, parents, and members of the Women Legislative Caucus called for the implementation of the joint legislative budget proposal that would reject the pause, immediately implement 11,000 slots and codify the commitment to the 200,000 previously announced slots.

“The Governor is proposing to go back on his promise to expand child care access, stranding 81,000 families on the waiting list, delaying dreams to go to work, or get a degree. California is the richest state in the richest country in the world. So why are we balancing our budget on the backs of poor families and child care providers?” said Keisha Brown, a member of Parent Voices Contra Costa. “We will not allow anyone to pit the needs of parents against providers. I’m proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners in CCPU and our allies in the Legislative Women’s Caucus, to demand a budget that invests in child care providers and working families.”

“We know child care is an essential service that our economy depends on. Without it, parents can’t work. But expecting providers to earn $7-10/hour while doing this important work is unacceptable. If Gov. Newsom truly values working women in California, then the budget must expand access to care. The state must recognize the critical work of providers by ensuring they earn fair pay,” said Max Arias, Chair and Chief Negotiator for Child Care Providers United. “We demand the state deliver on their commitments to increase child care slots. And we demand that the Governor and legislators keep their promise and ensure that providers’ pay keeps current with rising inflation and immediately fund the cost of care reimbursement system. We came together today to let the Governor and legislators know that we are committed to this fight. We are committed to expanding child care for working families. We are committed to respect and fair pay for providers. And we shall not be moved.”

“For over a decade, the Women’s Caucus has made access to affordable, accessible child care for all our number one priority. Child care is essential and good for our children. And it’s essential to our economy. We have employers who are adding jobs but can’t find workers because they have no access to child care. And the workers who provide child care are essential to our economy and they deserve the pay they fought for – that their union won. We need the budget the Women’s Caucus prioritized and the Legislature approved for California’s children and working families,” said Senator Nancy Skinner, Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

“We are fighting for you all every single day. I know your struggle. As a single mom – finding child care felt impossible. But people like you made it possible for me to go to bed every night knowing my children were supported and cared for. So I will continue to fight for you – to make sure you get the wages you deserve and that working families don’t have to struggle as much to get their kids into quality, affordable early learning opportunities,” said Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Vice Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

 

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Child Care Providers United brings together 40,000 family child care providers across California and is a partnership of SEIU Local 99, SEIU Local 521 and UDW/AFSCME Local 3930.