This page is optimized for a taller screen. Please rotate your device or increase the size of your browser window.

Child Care Provider Appreciation Day: Valuing Our Providers

May 6, 2024

“Buenos dias,” says Marisol*, the family child care provider that my daughter has been going to for over two years. My three-year-old quickly walks past her and into the living room, where a tub of blocks is within my view. She barely says goodbye to me, but I don’t take offense. Rather, I’m grateful that my child feels so secure and comfortable that she doesn’t cry when Mommy leaves. She’s always happy to see me when I pick her up, but I know during the time spent away from me she plays and explores in a safe, nurturing, learning environment.

A Closer Look at Child Care Providers

Marisol, like other child care providers, is not a babysitter. The work of child care providers requires specialized knowledge and skill and is both physically and often emotionally demanding.

Marisol’s day with my daughter and the other children is filled with learning and curiosity.

  • She reads and sings in English and Spanish to support my daughter’s early literacy and dual language acquisition.
  • They color and paint to help my daughter master new skills that build her fine motor development.
  • Marisol helps my daughter learn how to handle her emotions and work well with other children and adults—all through thoughtfully designed exploration and play.
  • She communicates with me daily on my daughter’s progress and respects my family’s culture.

Challenges in Child Care: Tackling the Crisis of Low Child Care Worker Salaries

Today in the U.S., we’re experiencing an unprecedented crisis in early childhood care and education. Despite the knowledge required and the long hours, child care providers are some of the lowest-paid people in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2023, the mean annual wage for all occupations in the U.S. was $65,740. Child care workers earned approximately half of that amount, with an average annual salary of $32,070. Issues of low compensation and workforce turnover and shortages existed for many years, but COVID amplified these issues. Bonuses funding given during the pandemic to keep early childhood educators – and classrooms open – did help but did not solve the ongoing recruitment and retention crisis.

Investing in Our Future: Recognizing the Value of Child Care Professionals 

Discussions about fixing the child care workforce pipeline focus on the need to increase compensation, to reduce turnover, to ensure families have access to care so that parents can fill the rest of the workforce. Adequate compensation for child care providers stands as a crucial factor in encouraging individuals to pursue this career.

But what can be more important than the people who take care of our vulnerable and precious babies, toddlers, and preschoolers? Valuing our providers is not only good economics; it also supports a strong society where children have consistent relationships with the people who partner with their parents to set a strong foundation for success in school and life.

Note: Name has been changed to protect privacy of the individual.

Work With Us
Ready to change people's lives? We want to hear from you.
We do more than solve the challenges our clients have today. We collaborate to solve the challenges of tomorrow.