Child Care Providers United (CCPU), the union that represents 40,000 child care providers in California, reached an agreement with Governor Newsom to provide funding for urgent health care needs and to develop a retirement planning strategy as part of the new state budget.
Many child care providers, a workforce dominated by women of color who ssurvive on starvation wages, applaud this as a historic gesture. The state will set aside $100 million in a trust to meet ongoing health care needs.
“Providers have united and stood firm in our demand that the state close the gaps in providers’ access to health insurance; as a result, this agreement will place $100 million in permanent funds in a trust to help providers access and pay for health insurance as well as fund start-up costs,” said Patricia Moran, a child care provider. of Children in San Jose and a member of CCPU’s Joint Labor-Management Committees (JLMC) Health and Retirement. “Having lost a dear friend and sister child care provider last year because she was unable to access insurance and wasted precious time as the cancer progressed through her body, I am overwhelmed with emotion as we celebrate this vital victory for thousands of providers.”
The agreement will also allow fund a study on pension benefitsbecause many suppliers cannot afford to retire, Studies show. The budget too extends the current family fee exemption for publicly subsidized childcare services.
However, many early childhood education and care experts are disappointed that fees paid by the state to providers have not increased, despite rising inflation, in this budget cycle.
“The Governor spoke lip service to both the impacts of inflation on Californians and the important work of health care workers in our state,” saidhelp Kristin Schumacher, senior policy analyst for the California Budget and Policy Center, a nonprofit research organization. “But that sentiment didn’t extend to subsidized child care centers and preschool providers who provide life-saving care to children despite being reimbursed with outdated and inadequate payment rates. These outdated payment rates make it very difficult for providers to offer early educators professional salaries, keep pace with rising minimum wages, and pay rising prices for food and supplies. Providers and families suffer when subsidized child care is limited in their communities due to lack of investment from policy makers.
Once the legislature has ratified the budget and the governor has signed it, the agreement will be submitted to CCPU member providers for a ratification vote.