Child care providers plan to rally at the Iowa capitol today (Wednesday), pushing lawmakers to pass more legislation to bring improvements in their industry. Jill Dodds runs a child care facility in Coralville and is President of the Hawkeye Area Child Care Providers Network. Dodds says she wants to see a number of things accomplished.
Dodds says “We’re looking at quality of our profession as a whole. We want to look at several issues furthering training opportunities for our educational goals, professional benefits, incentives for providers to stay in the profession like health insurance, disability insurance. Providers also need a living wage in order to provide a valuable program for the children in their care.”
Dodds applauds recent efforts to unionize child care workers in Iowa. She says “We also want to have a voice at the table when regulations are being decided so that we can help discuss how the child care quality is to be improved.” Dodds and her husband run a “registered” child care facility. She says you don’t have to register with the state to care for five or fewer children.
Dodds says “We feel that registered providers bring quality to the system. They meet state-mandated requirements and help set a higher standard of care. We have more training, CPR, first aid, meet health and safety requirements that unregistered providers do not have to do.” Matt Tapscott is president of the Early Education Benefits Association in Des Moines and has served on the Governor’s Task Force for Child Care and Early Education.
Tapscott contends unionizing child care providers will -not- mean Iowa’s parents have to pay more for the service. Tapscott says “This is a critical needs service in this state. 65-percent of dual income families need and use this service. Over 180-thousand children are in the system. The state needs to step up to the plate and insure that this system is of the highest standards and highest qualities in the nation and it cannot fall on the backs of working families.”
Tapscott says a majority of the near-six-thousand of the state’s registered child care providers have voted in favor of being represented by AFSCME, the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees union. Many Iowa child care workers joined a competing union — the Service Employees International Union -– which is contesting the results of the balloting.