“I can’t compete with sign-up bonuses and pay $20 an hour at the amusement park,” said Ms. Mossefin, who cares for children from infancy to age 12. “Even fast food restaurants rent $12 to $15 an hour here. I can It’s not because I can’t raise prices for my parents, because we’re all in pain.”
Last week she lost an employee to a car factory. She has cut the number of children she cares for by a third, to 12, and says she works much more than full-time herself.
She took home $18,000 last year after paying her bills and her employees’ wages. This year — with a lower turnout, an additional $4,500 spent on cleaning supplies, and the $1,000 she spent on Indeed hiring people — she expects to make $14,000. Full-time tuition for a toddler is $756 a month, and she recently made it about $4 a week. But she knows that her customers, who usually work at the local Whirlpool factory or fast food outlets, can no longer afford to pay.
“I get it, I was a single mom,” she said. “It’s just something my city needed.”
The pandemic threatened to disrupt an already fragile childcare system. Centers that managed to reopen after closures initially struggled with low enrollment – many parents were uncomfortable with sending children back. Employees have not always received masks and other protective equipment, healthcare or danger money.
“You have a situation where workers were already struggling, and then they’re put under tremendous pressure to work, with not only a lack of resources, but a lack of concern and respect that people have for the welfare of child carers,” said Lea JE Austin, executive director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.
Now that parents want to go back to daycare, they can’t find it, leaving some without full-time coverage for the third year in a row.