LOS ANGELES – Members of SEIU Local 99-Child Care Providers United (CCPU), are facing incredible challenges that threaten their ability to care for the children of essential workers, boost California’s recovery, improve their livelihoods and support families. Hundreds of child care providers held rallies and car caravans across California today to call attention to a child care system in crisis.
“We are here today to sound the alarm on the #childcarecrisis in California. Since this pandemic began, more than 5,000 family child care providers have been forced to close their doors,” said Max Arias, Executive Director of SEIU Local 99 and Chairperson of Child Care Providers United.
Los Angeles alone has seen 982 closures impacting an estimated 9000 children and their families. On Oct. 1, providers are facing a pay cut due to lack of federal funding. Meanwhile, family child care providers have stepped into the gap to care for children participating in distance learning while schools are closed, without additional compensation.
“I am caring for kids all day and night whereas in the past school-age children only attended after 3 p.m. As schools closed, the cost of supporting this new way of learning has created a drastic shift in my learning space, from accommodating quiet learning to more expensive WiFi. The state needs to pay us adequately for the high quality education we’re providing for kids in distance learning across the state,” said Justine Flores, a provider from East Los Angeles who has invested more than $5,000 since the pandemic started to adapt to the needs of school-age children.
We are demanding action from Governor Newsom and state leaders, imploring them to help us stay in business and support essential workers who depend on child care to do their jobs on the front lines of COVID-19. With over 200 closures in the last week alone, we know from the Great Recession our child cares, the majority of which are owned by women of color, will likely never reopen without significant investments from the state.
Due to the federal government’s failure to provide funding by a state-mandated deadline, today’s actions come on the last day before providers must absorb the cost of family fees for families not attending care due to COVID-19. A significant financial blow for early educators across the state.
To alleviate this crisis we have proposed the following solutions:
- Increase reimbursement rates for providers who have children in their care participating in distance learning, as some providers have seen their monthly costs increase by up to 75%.
- Financially support providers who have to close their doors out of an abundance of caution following potential COVID-19 exposure, so that they’re able to reopen and continue their role as essential workers in our communities
- Continue to cover families’ portion of fees for children who receive child care subsidies when families keep children home to prevent COVID-19 spread or exposure, instead of levying a tax against providers.
We know we must stabilize the child care industry to rebuild our economy. Without COVID-19 relief and permanent economic protections for child care providers, real economic recovery in California will be impossible. Accessible care is essential to working parents’ lives, helping them balance their careers and families.
“The road to recovery is tied to our support of child care providers. That’s why we’re here to call on our state to act. Providers need protections that allow them to keep operating & supporting families like mine,” said Eric Puestow, a parent from Altadena.
Take action today and make a call to Governor Newsom.