Why are daycare salaries so low?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Why are daycare salaries so low?
99
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 5:55pm
I love children and I am very good with them. But one reason why I don't work in the field is because I can't survive on the salary. I am someone I would want to take care of my own children when I have them. But because of the low wages, many people who would make good child care providers do other things. We have all talked about how much it costs to put your children in daycare but you are paying to get no-so-good workers often the folks who can get nothing better. I know there are some great daycare teachers who are blessed to be retired or have other means of finacial support and can work there. But someone like me can't. And it is a shame.

It there a reason for such low pay in such an expense market?

 

 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 6:29pm
Because daycare isn't viewed as something of value in itself- to children or anyone. Its viewed as eiterh a survial necessity, or a lifestyle enhancement enabler, to a family.

Before the value of a service provider can be recognized with monetary compensation, the value of the service has to be defined. And not just in terms of "nice to have" or even "necessity". Maids are nice to have, and garbage men pretty much a necessity. But the skill sets there are viewed as those of which most people are capable - things we could all do for ourselves if required. Funancial planners and doctors, while again more or less a "nice to have" and a "necessity" posses skills of greater value because they aren't perceived to be (and actually they aren't) things just anyone can go do. I can't just go be my family's own doctor or financial planner, the way I could just go clean my house or take my own garbage off to the dump.

If/when daycare is determined by society to provide something of value to children, such that every child should have access to the benefit, or at least such that children who have access the service are preceived to be fortunate, the service and those who provide it will see more recognition - monetary and otherwise. As long as the benefit is not recognized as something above and beyond what the average parent can provide for their children in their own home, it won't be. I'm all for recognizing the benefit of dc above and beyond what the average family can provide all on its lonesome, but most people aren't.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 7:56pm
Good Luck convincing "society" that daycare providers are better at caring for children than their own parents. I doubt you'll find a lot of people to agree with you.
Avatar for mygriffin
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 8:26pm
All the benefits of daycare you're always touting are provided by attending school. If it was "necessary" for kids to be in that kind of environment before the age of 5, school would start at 3 months.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 10:13pm
I think its pure economics. No one is going to pay more than what they make working to their day care provider. I know many women who sah because expenses of working, including day care eat up to much of thier salary. It doesn't make sense to pay more for day care than you earn at the job. I know the value of a good d/c provider (I used to run a day care out of my home), but I was such a low wage earner, that I could never afford to pay a d/c worker what they were truly worth. (one reason of many that I sahm alot) In order for dc providers to make what they are TRULY worth, would either price them out of the market, or they would have to have so many kids in their care that the quality of care would be compromised.

I have a friend who pays more for her nanny than she does for her mortgage payment (she's a single mom) but she is a Phd Scientist & makes a ton of money.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 10:26pm
Supply and demand...it is easier to be a dc teacher than a dr. ,for instance.However,at least in MA, you have to be certified, with either a degree or/and so many years exoerience plus relevant coursework.That is good, but it is also the reason dc costs upwards of $300 a week.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 11:28pm
depending on the area and the qualifications of the provider, as well as the type of situation they are in im not so sure the pay is always that low. the last homedaycare provider i used was $200 a week, she kept 4-5 kids, thats what $800-$1000 a week, i dont know but thats not bad pay in my world.

Jennie
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 6:58am
It depends on what type of dc "worker" you're talking about. I'm a family childcare provider and I make a *very* good living at it. You won't here me complaining about the type of salary I make. The thing is is I don't depend on one family to make my living for me..I have several who all add up to quite a bit. The answer I have for child care workers is if you want to make more money, go into business for yourself.

Wrt centers, I don't have an answer. It's a double edged sword..most parents have to work and some make just enough to pay their bills and their daycare. There is assistance out there, but most don't qualify for it because they make too much money. If you own private a center, it takes money to run that center and there are bills to pay and you have to clear some sort of profit in order to stay in business..but you can't charge too much or people can't afford to pay it. What can be done about it? I think eventually the government is going to have to step in and play a role in all of this..but we have problems funding our public school systems, how on earth are we going to fund dc too??

I guess the bottom line is that most just don't respect the child care field and until that respect is present, the pay will remain low. Oh sure the parents I have now are a great bunch and respect what I do trememdously, but I don't know how many people I've talked to, when they find out what I do for a living, say something along the lines of.."oh you babysit? when are you going to get a job?" LOL

Sue

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 7:00am
You're absolutely right Jennie.

Sue

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 7:00am
In this particular post, I didn't read that she was saying that dcp's can provide better care...but that there are benefits to being in dc that many parents cannot or do not provide.

Although imo, even as a provider...those benefits are family specific. Some parents pick and choose their children's friends and they are not exposed to many different kinds of children that a dc would provide. Some parents do not expose their children to other adults outside of their family or close friends in order for them to "get" the different people have different rules type of deal. Some parents have only one child and do not expose them to other avenues of play so the kids can learn how to play, share and other social needs.

The list really could go on, but I think that the main thing is that it *is* all family specific. The best thing I did for my dd is to put her in dc because she was able to get those social skills and learn how to deal with other children before she started kinder. For my family...it was a bonus and very helpful in her adjustment. But that does't mean it would be "best" for other families.

But in any case, I do agree with 123 with her point. DCP are many times looked down on as "hired babysitters." And that is not what we are. We are adults who care for children in the absence of the parent--we help the parent in the sense that we continue the teaching of skills in the parents absense. We are not replacing a parent, we are not better then the parent...but if they choose to use us...we are very important part of their children's life. Unfortunatly, many parents (even those who use us) do not view it like that. They view us as a drop off place and why do we need any money? I mean...we are just sitting home doing nothing right? (slight vent here I think).

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 7:10am
Sue, I have to wonder why people forget about us...the in-home providers. Granted, I know some that are way expensive and others who are not. I am admittingly on the lower end, but I have reason to be and am very picky about who I will and will not accept in my care (I could be like that on the higher end, but I cater to a specific group of people).

I also agree that many view us as just "babysitters" and that drives me nuts. I really don't know much about centers, but I do know that as a single operator from my own home...I do have the ability to charge less...but make more then an average center worker. I also know that I currently have the same training as they do with the added benefit of being in my own home and creating an atmosphere that a center cannot.

I too, will not complain about the money I make. But I can complain about the "general" attitude towards what I do for a living.

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