SEIU parents and child care providers met Wednesday, May 20 with former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to share their stories about the urgent need for affordable access to quality child care.
"Working families need help. We can raise this world up if we have better quality child care for parents," said Camille Mahan-Carr of Stockton, Calif., a mother of three whose youngest child's delayed learning she believes was partially caused by the lack of a stable care routine.
"Many of our parents that we serve--they can't pay the regular rates that we offer, so we give them discounts, and with those discounts, we have to struggle and balance" to provide quality care, said Patricia Bailey of Tukwila, Wash., who has owned and operated Patti's Pandas Childcare Preschool for 25 years. Sometimes, her wages "come to about $2 an hour.... If there's any way that we could make a $15 minimum wage happen across the United States, it would be such a great benefit. Many families are struggling, but our children truly deserve better."
"For me, it has been a struggle. I'm a single parent of two children," said Claudia Iraheta of Los Angeles, a Head Start parent and enrollee-turned-Head Start teacher. She says at times, she has barely been able to feed her children, and her car was repossessed last year because she chose food for her family and rent over the car payment. "It's very difficult...to be able to provide for my family.... Please (don't) forget us--individuals that are struggling."