In my 34 years in the field of child care, I have never experienced the instability that is compromising the foundation of our industry like it is today. Child care workers are disappearing. We are a staff of 18 and, since June 2020, 16 employees have resigned, throwing us into a constant and chaotic hiring loop. Seventy-five percent of those who gave us their notice cited inadequate wages as the reason. The early education sector and the families who we serve have lost highly skilled educators because they cannot afford to stay.

The turnover has not ceased, even with the wage supplements that are currently in place. While we are so very grateful, it is not enough. And despite redirecting every financial resource available at our program to direct care staff wages, many of our staff work second jobs and are still struggling. The additional $200-a-month wage supports proposed in Senate President Troy Jackson’s bill, L.D. 1726, are desperately needed.

It is time we recognize that the people caring for our youngest children are carrying out the most significant work in our world. They are developing young brains, laying the foundation on which everything else will be built for this little human. And they truly are, they are the workforce behind the workforce. Without child care, parents cannot work and our economy stalls.

I implore legislators and Gov. Mills to support L.D. 1726. Together, we can stabilize and right this ship.

Camelia Babson Haley
executive director, Youth and Family Outreach

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