Support Brevard’s School Readiness Providers

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This campaign focuses on the “Increasing need for Quality child care programs, and Staff among ever demanding challenges from different Regulatory Departments and Parents.”

Childcare is unlike any other service provided in our society. Its inherent nature creates unique challenges that must be met to provide qualitative and efficient services to the community.  Though childcare service providers are striving to maintain the quality of service expected of them, the costs for the same have sky-rocketed without any increase in the compensation.

Considering recent lowered classroom group sizes, advanced training regulations, curriculum mandates collaborated with pressures to meet Florida’s standards, high parent demands and liability concerns; child care providers should be the highest priority for support from our community, especially with the direct impact early learning/school readiness providers have proven to have on our children and future.

While providers are faced with more restrictions, the number of children with challenging behaviors or special medical needs has risen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 1 out of every 5 children has a special healthcare need. Furthermore, 1 out of every 7 children (ages 2 to 8) has a diagnosed mental, behavioral or developmental disorder. Providers are expected to accommodate all children and their needs without any outside support.  

Over the past ten years, the costs of running a successful facility have increased substantially. Intricate DCF and OEL regulations for childcare providers have become nearly impossible to abide by without an increase in current compensation rates.

According to the latest data, Florida’s minimum wage is $8.25, up from 2008 rate of $6.79, an increase of 21.50%. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices are 50.36% higher compared to 2000. Families of child care workers are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as families in other occupations (14.7% compared with 6.7 %.)

Many national chains — have increased their minimum hourly pay to $10/ 11 this year. Another national chain pledged to raise the minimum wage to $15 hourly by 2020.  Childcare providers must compete with such employers to hire/retain employees, which is virtually impossible at the current rate of compensation for services, paying such wages is not feasible.

Childcare providers are being reimbursed for their relentless services to the community at rates last revised in 2008. The average operational payment for an infant for a daycare center in the United States is approximately $11,666 per year ($972 a month). However, providers in Brevard County have not seen any increase in reimbursement rates for about ten years.

     While new background screening policies (at increased costs) and stringent training requirements cause extensive delays in hiring new staff; providers also struggle to maintain their existing employees due to competitive hourly rates with less influential roles (such as retail positions.)

          Subsidized care is provided to families as a result of their own individual economic disadvantages. The Early Learning Coalition uses a formula based on their income and circumstances to determine a feasible “parent fee.” Therefore, demanding additional funds directly from the families is not a fair or effective solution.

We urge our Early Learning Coalition to support us with an increase in our present reimbursement rates to meet the increased responsibilities of complying with new rules, regulations, reporting, monitoring, training as well as the overall increase in operating a quality facility.

Our community will risk losing quality early learning environments which will undeniably affect our society and future.