Child Care Centers on Strike, Protesting Idaho Legislature
If you are a parent of a young child not yet school age you may have had trouble getting your little one into your regular child care center, or even a back up one. There is a lot going on in the State Legislature, unfortunately not a lot of it is necessarily productive as many of it is in regards to the allegations and charges against one of the members. The last few weeks the attention of the Legislatures have not been focused on the building stack of bills and funding needed for the state. One being a $34 million child care funding bill that Idaho Legislature has not yet approved. For some the funds would mean the difference of staying open or having to close their doors.
According to the Idaho Capital Sun, legislators had a problem with the 28.8% increase in federal dollars. They were not confident that most child care centers would not apply for the grants and the money would go wasted. Well, the child care workers are making it clear that they want the money. The funding would allow approved child care providers with up to $5,000 in monthly grants. The money would go to enhancements to the center and higher wages for staff. The bill has a specific wage enhancement portion that comes out to about a $2 to $3 per hour bump per child care worker.
Over 200 child care centers across Idaho have closed in the 8 months. A few factors contributed including the pandemic and its ripple effects, like parents working from home.
According to CBS2, Giraffe Laugh child care center's director Lori Fascilla said, “The Legislature doesn’t seem to think that we need these funds, yet there was a center today in Caldwell where parents showed up and (the center) was shuttered. No sign on the door, no employees there to tell them what happened, they’re just closed. And it’s becoming sadly more and more common. Our economy won’t recover without child care, and we’re going in the wrong direction here,” Fascilla continued. “Who’s going to take care of all the kids? That’s what we want to know.”
The child care center community is asking for help and needs people to reach out to their representatives advocating for the bill to pass before the Legislature adjourns.