News23ABC In-Depth


California childcare providers ratify new agreement with state

23ABC’s Corey O’Leary spoke with union officials as well as a local childcare provider to learn more about the impacts of this agreement.
Posted: 5:04 PM, Aug 02, 2023
Updated: 2023-08-02 21:06:14-04
Childcare Provider (FILE)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Childcare Providers United is a union that represents home-based childcare providers that have one or more kids that are part of the state-funded childcare system. These providers function as small businesses and have to pay for the costs of providing their services.

One such childcare provider is Ayde Jaime, who runs her childcare education business from her home in Arvin. She explained some of the difficulties of running that business.

"It's very hard to provide for your family and to provide for the daycare. It's very hard, because everything is so expensive, and for us as childcare providers, like teachers have discounts, have discounts at different stores and stuff, we don’t. We have to pay for everything at top dollar."

Jaime became a childcare educator nine years ago based on seeing a need. While childcare providers can get paid directly from parents, if a family qualifies for subsidized child care the state of California provides money to the providers. This is where the union comes in, which was organized in California three years ago.

"I open my doors at 4:00 in the morning and I close them at 7:00, five days, and if there's need, we’ll go ahead and work Saturdays," said Jaime. "Before we had a union we didn't have a voice, nobody paid attention to us. We were nobody. Now we are educators."

A demographic study by the Center for Child Care Employments found that 98 percent of childcare providers were women, with more than half of them being women of color. Alexa Frankenberg, executive director of Childcare Providers United, says that the old way of providing state compensation to childcare providers put the burden of the cost of care on providers.

"Right now, providers are reimbursed based on the dollar amount based on a very outdated survey of what they charge families. A lot of time providers aren’t able to charge what it really costs to do child care because they know families struggle to afford childcare."

With this new contract, which was ratified on July 31, a new method of payment will be put into place.

"It looks at what it costs, and that’s what the state of California will commit to paying per buyer and we’re going to pay you what it actually cost to provide childcare, explained Frankenberg. "What this will do is it will really shift what right now is a burden on parents and providers, often which will offset the low rates of pay and benefits which providers currently receive."

"Now we are being heard, now we are able to provide service for more children because back then there was a lack of funds for children and now there’s more funds," added Jaime.

The new deal also includes increased benefits for providers including $100 million per year for healthcare funding and $80 million for retirement funding.

"It's heartbreaking because I know providers that they’re elderly providers because they are still working because they have a need," said Jaime. "So, yes there’s definitely a big need for the retirement, for the health. It is a help for our insurance to pay our premiums, co-payments, it's a huge help."

More than 99 percent of union members who participated in the ratification process voted to accept the new agreement with the state.

"It was a big, big blessing for us because it is opening more doors for us as childcare providers," continued Jaime.

Frankenberg said that she hopes these changes will make becoming a childcare provider a more appealing career for people to enter into.


The pandemic was one of the biggest contributing factors to the lack of workers in the field.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California lost nearly 28,000 workers between February and April of 2020 or roughly a third of the workforce.

Nearly 20,000 of those workers have returned through September 2021, but the workforce is still about 10 percent smaller than it was before COVID.

A big factor for this is the lower wages they receive compared to other similar occupations.