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Child Care Providers United (CCPU), the union representing 40,000 child care providers in California, reached an agreement with Governor Newsom to provide funding for urgent health care needs as well as develop a strategy for retirement planning as part of the new state budget.
Many childcare providers, a workforce dominated by women of color who often ssurvive on poverty wages, hailed it as a historic step. The state will set aside $100 million in a trust to meet ongoing health needs.
“Providers stood together and stood strong in our demand that the state address gaps in providers’ access to health insurance; as a result, this agreement will place $100 million in ongoing funds in a trust to help providers access and afford health insurance, as well as fund start-up costs,” said Patricia Moran, a San Jose child care provider and member of CCPU’s Joint Labor Management Committees (JLMCs) for Health Care and Retirement. “After losing a dear friend and sister childcare provider last year because she was unable to access insurance and lost precious time as cancer progressed through her body, I am overwhelmed with emotion as we celebrate this life-saving victory for thousands of providers four.”
The agreement will also fund a study of retirement benefitsas many providers cannot afford to retire, research shows. The budget too extend the current waiver on family fees for state subsidized childcare.
However, many early education and care experts are disappointed that the rates the state pays providers have not been raised, despite rising inflation, as part of this budget cycle.
“The governor paid lip service to both the impact of inflation on Californians and the important work of caregivers in our state,” s.said Kristin Schumacher, senior policy analyst for the California Budget and Policy Center, a nonprofit research organization. “But that sentiment has not extended to subsidized child care and preschool providers who provide vital care for children despite being reimbursed at outdated and inadequate payment rates. These outdated payment rates make it really difficult for providers to offer early educators professional wages, keep up with the rising minimum wage, and afford rising prices for food and supplies. Providers and families suffer when subsidized child care is limited in their communities due to policymakers’ lack of investment.”
After the legislature approves the budget and the governor signs it, the agreement will go before CCPU member suppliers for a ratification vote.
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