Quality early learning and care programs are dependent on the consistency and educational achievement of child care staff. High staff turnover resulting from low wages and few benefits negatively impacts the quality of early childhood learning and care. Making affordable health care insurance available to child care workers keeps child care affordable for parents and helps retain experienced, trained staff. Expanding the Basic Health Plan to early childhood education workers is the most effective administrative approach to accomplish this goal.
- Only 55% of licensed child care centers in Washington provide health benefits, which is 15% less than for workers in other professions.
- Child care teachers earn on average $7.73 an hour or approximately $16,078 per year. Aides earns significantly less: $6.34 an hour or approximately $13,187 per year.
- Health insurance is especially critical to child care workers because of the increased risk of infectious disease and injury inherent in caring for young children.
- Washington state has already legislated health care coverage for specific low income workers, namely foster parents and home health workers, through the state’s Basic Health Plan.