Home Education Childcare providers deserve more than thanks. They need action.

Childcare providers deserve more than thanks. They need action.

 Childcare providers deserve more than thanks.  They need action.

Keisha Bailey brought her son to the home of Pam Childress, who works at the home where he was nine months old. Bailey is a nurse and her shifts start around 5am, so she is counting on Childress for post-work and night care.

In January, the organization I lead, Home Grown, which supports home care providers, was interviewed in Bailey.

“Ma’am. Pam knows [my son] very good, ”she explained. “She teaches children to wash their hands and cough on their hands. She teaches them to get along with each other. And she directly uses his learning abilities and encourages him to learn the things he will need in kindergarten. ”

Home Care Provider Pam Childress; Provided by Home Grown

Today, May 6, we celebrate Provider Thanksgiving Day, a day to recognize and celebrate the wonderful work of childcare providers such as Childress, every day, intuitively imagining what and when children need, helping toddlers develop and grow, and work long , unconventional watches that few others will want to endure on their shoulders. This day is also a time to take collective action to address the difficulties and systemic barriers faced by providers who support our families.

As Bailey describes, Childress and millions of other home providers like her work tirelessly to meet the developmental needs of young children, prepare nutritious meals, plan fun physical activities and teach the fundamental skills needed for reading and learning. Home providers also love, cuddle and build safe, stable relationships that allow children to explore and take risks that support learning.

According to the latter National Early Care and Education Studymanaged by the Administration for Children and Families in 2019, more than 5 million caregivers and providers care for about 6.8 million children aged 0 to 5 at home. Although some of these providers, known as family care providers, are licensed to care for children and operate as small businesses, the vast majority are family members and neighbors who offer help to support members their community. Think: a child’s aunt or a retired grandmother. In this area, these providers are known as educators of family, friends and neighbors (FFN). This huge workforce that supports working families is largely unnoticed in public policy; our systems underestimate – or even ignore – the important role that FFN educators play in supporting families who work in non-traditional times, live in rural areas and for those who prioritize well-known, reliable, and culturally matched educators.

The pandemic has made it clear what was clear before: home-based suppliers, who are the lowest paid workers in early childhood, which is already characterized by extremely low pay, are suffering. According to the Office for Children and Families, FFN educators, when paid, earn on average only $ 7,400 a year from their childcare work. Family care providers, only $ 29,300 a year.

Every day more and more providers close their programs forever. This was recently reported by the company “Child Care Aware of America”. nearly 7,000 family child care providers closed in the first year of the pandemic. We know that suppliers are deeply committed to families, but many simply cannot manage their finances. Data from various sources show alarming evidence of the difficulties faced by providers and educators across the country, including:

  • Hunger: According to the report for 2021 RAPID-EC projectthe Early Childhood and Family Welfare Survey, conducted in a national sample of childcare providers every few weeks, 34 percent of FFN caregivers and 26 percent of family child caregivers reported experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic
  • Housing insecurity: The same report also shows that 7 percent of FFN caregivers and 13 percent of family care providers reported that they difficult to pay mortgage or rent payments, or that they pay them late. This is particularly troubling given that their home is also the place of their business.
  • Rely on state aid: A a complete survey of child care providers in Californiaconducting c Center for the Study of Child Care Employmentfound that one-third of family child care providers require at least one form of government assistance.
  • Limited access to support: In our research and work with suppliers, we understand that home providers are struggling to access the credit, grants and material support needed to survive the pandemic and build economic stability. Most of these opportunities are designed for licensed businesses with employees, which limits access for sole proprietors, such as childcare and FFN, who do not have a well-understood business structure. Many home providers rely on private payments from families and have nothing to do with the state or organizations that distribute grants, remedies, and other resources.

Non-recognition of the unique contribution of home providers leads to limited support and low pay. On this Thanksgiving Day, let’s not just see, recognize and celebrate these providers, let’s take steps to support them. Each of us has a role to play in ensuring that childcare providers, including at home, are respected and economically stable. Here are some ideas to get you started:


  • Celebrate and thank the vendor. Offer material support to make her life easier: water the garden, walk the dog, prepare food for her. Share a handmade postcard from your child.
  • Call your chosen representatives and tell them how important childcare is to you, how you need exemption from childcare costs, and how your providers should and deserve better pay. Not sure who to call? Start here.

Politicians and defenders

  • Significantly include in your agenda home care providers – both family and FFN. Prioritize their funding and support needs.
  • Bring childcare providers to the table to express your needs and help you develop significant policy changes.
  • Invest more. Suppliers and families need more support; excellent childcare requires significant investment which reduce costs for families and increase payments and wages for suppliers.

We are at a critical juncture in meeting the needs of families and home care providers such as Childress who support them. Failure to take measures to strengthen the economic stability and well-being of suppliers will lead to further closure and disruption of child and family care. It is important to say thank you, but action is needed now.

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