August 29, 2019
A young child's healthy development requires stable, caring, interactive, and positive relationships with their parents, family members, and other caregivers. These adults help shape a child's earliest experiences, which affects their chances for success throughout life: The emotional and physical health, social skills, and cognitive and linguistic capacities that emerge in the early years are all important for success in school, the workplace, and in the larger community. In today's economy, an increasing number of children from working families are benefiting from relationships with caregivers outside of the home. These individuals have an undeniable impact on shaping a child's successful development, as demonstrated by decades of neurological and child development outcomes. Additionally, these caregivers allow parents to work and go to school to provide for their families. Yet child care workers remain in the near-bottom percentile (second to last) when all occupations are ranked by annual earnings. The average national median hourly wage for child care workers was $10.72 in 2017, falling from $13.74 in 2016. These wages are below the poverty line in nearly every state. More than 50 percent of child care workers, compared with 21 percent of the overall U.S. workforce, were enrolled in at least one publicsupport or health care program.