A new report released today shows a staggering deficit between what’s spent on early child care versus what’s needed.
The Early Childhood Workforce Commission study shows, in short, the childhood workforce in the state is in trouble.
“Its members are stressed with low wages, long hours, lack – in may cases – formal benefits and often long, long working hours and sometimes poor working conditions,” Spokeswoman Marjorie Kostelnik says.
Caretaker wages are equivalent, in some cases, to the poverty level. The report asks the state to cough up $109 million dollars to close the funding shortage.
“We’re trying to define a problem. We’re trying to figure out what the level of resources we need to execute on it and now stay focus on it,” State Senator John Stinner says.”
Stinner represents district 48 and was an integral person on the commission. One of his concerns that the report shows are ramifications for families and school readiness for pre-kindergarteners.
More than 75 percent of children under 6 live in homes where adults work, but 84 percent of Nebraska’s counties don’t have sufficient funds to meet the needs.
The report, which has been three years in the making, outlines significant funding shortfalls.
The report asks the state to allocate $109 million dollars to make up a $452 million dollar shortfall.
Kostelnik says not enough money is spent on what actually requires sufficient resources for pre-kindergarten readiness.
“They influence the abilities of communities to attack and keep young children in their geographical areas,” she says when speaking of the caretakers.
All of the problems, the report says, lead to the high turnover rate.