This week, we gathered in front of San José city hall — with childcare providers, parents and kids — to call attention to the urgent need for more child care in San José, and let our elected leaders know that our kids, working parents and essential workers matter.
The proposed City budget for this year includes cuts to crucial programs that allow thousands of San José residents to continue to work and support their families, and enable child care workers who provide for children during critical stages of their development. But we came together to demand a city budget that expands childcare services, rather than cut them.
Watch a live stream of the event here.
“When we invest in affordable, high-quality childcare, it benefits everyone involved. Families are able to access the care they need for their children without sacrificing other necessities, parents are able to stay in the workforce, and childcare workers are better able to support themselves,” said Deo Augustine, a child care provider and leader with the Care Workers Council, SEIU 521, and Childcare Providers United.
“The financial burden of childcare is so high that most parents that I work with are leaving the workforce or relocating or putting off having children. I want to raise my kids in a San José that we are proud of but we can’t do that if the city doesn’t support us, and support new parents,” said Janelle Adams, a city worker, an MEF AFSCME Local 101 leader, and mom of two.
Child care is a fundamental need, and investing in it will make our city safer and more resilient to economic uncertainty, and enable us to solve our staffing shortage. Council member Peter Ortiz, who named child care as a critical piece of socio-economic infrastructure said, “ We know that early care and education, mentorship and access to programming has an important role to play that’s why we should be supporting childcare providers, and critical youth programs aimed at helping prevent crime like San José Best and the safe summer initiatives”.
The majority of childcare workers in San José, like Deo and several other providers that were present at the rally are also women of color, and as Gabby Chavez-Lopez, Executive Director of Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley pointed out in her speech, latina women were over 30% more likely to stay home and care for their children than white women from similar economic backgrounds. By cutting funding for child care, our City is continuing a harmful cycle of disinvestment that has left so many low income families struggling to make ends meet.
Care cannot wait, and our budget is an opportunity to build a future where children from all backgrounds can flourish. And right now that means:
- Continued support for programs providing childcare and preschool for more than 1,000 children from low income families
- Continued support to family child care providers with training and assistance to start and maintain their businesses, including continuing important work on policy to help create more childcare sites in San Jose
- Implement family friendly policies such as childcare benefits, strong paid family leave for San José city workers to help close the City’s vacancy gap of nearly 1,000 unfilled jobs and better retain working parents.
We can work together to ensure that our city leaders make decisions that take us towards this future. If you believe all children deserve care, and that care workers deserve better, join us and make your voice heard. Together, we can let our council members know that our kids matter, our essential workers matter, and working families matter.