Letter: Don’t day care owners make a good living?

Published 11:09 pm Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A front-page article in the July 26 edition of the Tribune has me a bit confused. It was a reprint by Elizabeth Shockman who works for Minnesota Public Radio news and shouted that “Child care is unaffordable for average and low-wage residents across the state.” I have no argument with that; it’s well known that putting one child(ren) in day care is outrageously expensive. What I don’t grasp is another of the writer’s statements that “despite the high cost of care, those who provide it still struggle to get by on the wages they are paid.” If that statement focuses on the employees of large day care centers, it makes sense as I assume they make minimum wage. But, there are many people who have opened state-licensed day care facilities in their homes as owner-operated businesses. If the figures are anywhere near accurate in this article, the average amount parents pay for one child in daycare is $1,300 per month. That’s $15,600 per year. If a day care owner, with a home-based, inspected and approved business is licensed to care for five children (not a huge number for one person; mothers do it all the time), the gross income would be $78,000 per year. That is not exactly poverty-level income. Of course, there are expenses involved as with any business, including paying one’s own Social Security, insurance, etc., but $78,000 is far more than many, many people in our area make at their jobs. In addition, I understand parents must pay even when their children are not present to save their spot since good day care is so hard to find. That means on vacation, over holidays, etc., the day care provider is still receiving money for an absent child, although sometimes it is at a reduced amount.

I have long subscribed to the theory that our country is totally dependent upon three groups of people who truly have all the power: sanitation workers, office support staff and child care workers. If any of these three groups stop doing their tasks efficiently and consistently, everyone else, from the POTUS on down, cannot function. I give much credit to child care workers, but I am confused by the statement that they can’t make a living wage. It’s vitally important work; children’s lives are in their hands, and they appear to be paid well to take care of business.

Sandra Olson

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