The living wage for a single adult is $19.03 per hour. This reflects what is needed to meet basic needs and maintain some ability to deal with emergencies and plan ahead. The living wage for a single adult with two children is $40.89 per hour.
Connecticut’s minimum wage of $9.15 does not allow working families to make ends meet. The state’s minimum wage provides less than half of a living wage for a single adult and only 22 percent of the living wage for a single adult with two children.
My name is Denise, but almost everyone calls me “Neise.” I have always loved taking care of children – watching them grow and helping them learn are my passion and joy. Even when I was you, my mother knew I was destined to work with young children.
When I was hired at Branford Day Care Center, I knew I had found my true calling. I have now worked as a child care provider for more than 18 years.
Unfortunately, a love and dedication to nurturing and teaching young children has come at a significant personal and financial cost. I work 35 hours a week and I’m paid $12 an hour. It’s not enough for me to support myself and my own two children.
You would think that child care workers, who teach and care for children, and who keep them safe while their parents are away, would be paid enough to support their own families.
Each month I carefully plan and budget expenses down to the exact penny. I make choices daily about what I can afford and what I can’t. I am regularly forced to choose between paying my rent or my car insurance. I have to think carefully before buying even something as basic as laundry detergent.
Buying the required school binders and school supplies for my children means tough decisions. Buying crayons – just for fun, is impossible. Even with detailed financial management of my income and expenses, there is never enough to make ends meet.
The child care center in Hamden, Connecticut where I work is funded through state and federal funds, as well as parent fees. However, the public funds available for paying child care workers are inadequate and limited, and parents are certainly not able to pay more of their income towards child care.
In August, I had a chance to talk about my experience during a roundtable forum in Hamden with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D– Conn.). The event was specifically organized to address the issue of low wages for childcare workers.
If I earned $15 an hour, it would really ease my burden. I would be able to make all of my expenses each month with confidence, and not constantly be in a position of being completely broke at the end of every single pay period.