Child care workers fight the state for more money

Child care workers fight the state for more money
By: Holly Brantley
KENNETT, Mo. - Child care workers in Kennett are starting a campaign to win more money for licensed daycare's. Since 1990, Linda Wiseman has devoted her life to caring for kids. She says she's always provided care for children who's parents get a subsidy for childcare. She says in 1990 the state paid her 87 cents per hour, per child. Seventeen years later, the rate remains the same.
"Making $8.75 a day, we can't afford to pay someone to come in and watch the children while we do things like go to the doctor. We can't pay them and still get them what they need," Wiseman explains. "We need a raise."
Wiseman says the rate's never been ideal, but recent newspaper articles got her thinking. She wonders why prison inmates get a pay raise, and child care providers don't.
"The prisoners are making more than most of us," said Wiseman. "We need a raise. Let's see what we can do for the children."
So, Wiseman and other daycare workers, like Jackie Tice, started a movement for more money. They're hoping state leaders will listen to their concerns.
"We hope they'll for a committee, do some research, and give us a raise," said Wiseman.
"We are the lowest paid in the state," said Tice. "Dunklin County is not a poor community. "Why should we be the lowest paid?"
Providers also want to know what's going to happen when the minimum wage goes up and some parents no longer qualify for state subsidized child care.
We take care of the most precious possessions," said Wiseman. "All we want is to do what's best for these children."
Linda Wiseman is a member of Changing Child Care for Tomorrow in Kennett. They will meet with Representative Tom Todd on December 18th at the Church of Christ in Kennett. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.