NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Childcare workers nationwide rallied Wednesday for more funding and better pay. They call it the Morning Without Childcare. At those rallies, both workers and parents said they needed more help.
Early childcare workers called for more state funding at a half dozen rallies across the state. Allyx Schiavone, the executive director of the Friends Center for Children, was at the rally on New Haven Green.
“We are here today to ask legislators to think about us, to fund us at appropriate levels so that we can then support the entire Connecticut economy,” Schiavone said.
In Waterbury, they rallied in front of the Library. Parents there said they could barely afford the care they need for their kids.
“It costs me too much,” said mother Thayer Clark. “You’d think just because I’m a nurse practitioner and my husband has a good job that it’s affordable. It’s not.”
While parents struggle to pay for early childcare, the people working in the early childcare industry say they are not getting paid nearly enough.
“Childcare workers are leaving because Target is paying better or Stop & Shop is paying better,” said Chelsey Harris from the Bridge to Success. “Or they are working two or three jobs on top of their childcare job, and they’re not really able to give their all to the children in the center.”
“I have a master’s degree. I could be getting paid more flipping burgers at this point,” said pre-K teacher Jennifer Frankel. “But I love this job, and I want to stay in this job, and I want more people like me to want to be in this job also.”
The industry is asking for $700 million in state spending so early childcare workers can earn similar salaries to public school teachers.
“I think the legislature has an appetite and the good feeling they can increase it,” Democratic Deputy Speaker of the House State Rep. Jorge Reyes said at the rally in Waterbury. “Will they increase to the proportions they’re looking for? Probably not.”
Rallies like this last year got millions in state spending added to the budget. Workers and parents plan to keep the pressure on lawmakers.