San Diego County

San Diego County to Hold Conference to Look for Solutions to Child Care Shortage, Prices

One in four childcare workers in California lives in poverty, according to data compiled by San Diego Foundation

NBC Connecticut

Kelly Jenkins-Pultz, the U.S. Department of Labor's Region 9 administrator of its Women's Bureau, will be the keynote speaker at the San Diego County Childcare Board Conference Wednesday, which is intended to discuss and act on the challenges of childcare for parents, workers and providers.

Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, will join the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council and San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce at 2 p.m. Wednesday to host the conference.

"As a parent, I personally have experienced the juggling act that is required to ensure your kids are cared for while you have a work obligation; and I know that with the high cost of childcare, it can be especially difficult for families," Fletcher said. "We have taken several actions at the county to help both parents and providers, but this Childcare Board Conference is the first step in a new comprehensive approach to childcare in San Diego County. I am excited the labor council and chamber are in our corner on this issue."

According to data compiled by San Diego Foundation, the annual cost of care for one infant in a licensed childcare center in San Diego costs more than $19,000. Additionally, one in four childcare workers in California lives in poverty; the median hourly wage in California for these employees is $12.29 per hour.

"Even before the pandemic, we knew childcare was an obstacle to attracting and retaining parents in the workforce," said Stefanie Benvenuto, of the chamber of commerce. "Our members, our workers, and even the chamber team itself can attest to the challenges in locating childcare that enables them to pursue a career and build a life in San Diego.

A new child care facility is being built for San Diego police officers' families.

"It is absolutely imperative that we establish a regional strategy to address the shortage of this critical component of our economy so that we don't lose valuable talent and future generations," she said.

During the conference at the County Administration Center, experts will provide testimony to "discuss challenges as well as potential solutions to bring more affordable high-quality childcare spots online as well as ensure that childcare workers can make a career in this field," a statement from Fletcher's office reads.

"Pay for most childcare workers is not even enough for them to afford to support their own children," said Brigette Browning of the San Diego Labor Council. "We want this discussion to drive toward solutions that help working families afford childcare, and how to provide appropriate training, education and wages for the workers in the childcare industry."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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