Clinton Bill Calls for Better Pay, Training in Child Care

Article excerpt

SOCIAL WORKERS

People who provide child care for 12 million youngsters each week often can't afford such programs for their own kids, according to advocates seeking to increase pay and training for the social workers. They have a prominent champion in Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York and the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Clinton and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, introduced a bill in October that would create a $200 million annual fund for states to use to increase compensation, benefits, education and training for child care workers.

Supporters hope to attach the bill to other legislation. But even if it doesn't move far in the legislative process before the end of 2008, it lays a foundation for what may be done in 2009, especially if Democrats maintain control of Congress and Clinton is elected.

At a Capitol Hill event, she emphasized the importance of strengthening the workforce that plays a critical role in the lives of children during their formative years.

"Let's provide the resources we need to attract and keep people in the field ... and give our kids the best start," Clinton said.

The issue ties into Democratic efforts during the past year to appeal to families who make less than $100,000 annually and are buffeted by the increasing cost of living and the stress of economic competition.

"It is time to put middle-class families center stage," DeLauro said. "This is about investing in the future of our country, in our workforce and in our children."

The people who work with children day to day, however, make on average about $19,000 and have few benefits like paid sick days, DeLauro said.

It's not just child care personnel who are at the bottom of the economic ladder. …