Local child care providers to rally Tuesday over staffing shortage – InForum


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DILWORTH, Minn. — At ABC 123 child care center just off Highway 10, it’s meal time. The center, which has been there for six years, has room for 175 children but has an enrollment of 140 because they don’t have enough teachers.

They have 43 teachers but could hire 15 more in a minute. The problem facing child care centers and preschools is a lack of vacancies for children and too many teachers leaving for other jobs over pay.

“It’s really tough, especially where we are at now. We’re a decent-sized center, and right down the street you can go work at McDonald’s for $2 (per hour) over what our starting wage could be,” said Rashawnda Rice, ABC 123 Child Care center director.

Because of the pandemic, many child care centers have been surviving on special grants, but that lifeline will soon run out. Many of those child care centers are wondering what they will do now.

With the ongoing worker shortage looming over them, child care providers are holding a special meeting Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Dilworth City Depot Park.

“We have way too many kids and not enough spots available, and a lot of that is due to the staffing crisis,” said Lydia Boerboom, a child care organizer with Kids Count On Us.

A Minnesota-based advocacy group, Kids Count on Us is rallying child care centers around the state to push for a better child care system, saying the one in place is not sustainable.

“Early educators are the lowest paid educators in our system, with poverty wages in many parts of the state, no benefits, and really treated like babysitters, not real, professional educators who are doing some of the most important work in our communities every day,” Boerboom said.

The group hopes local candidates for the state Legislature show up in Dilworth Tuesday night, to not only listen to what child care centers are going through right now, but hopefully also to offer solutions.

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