Letter: Support the NH Working Families Act

I am currently a pre-K teacher in Claremont with thirteen years of experience. I write to urge legislators to support the Childcare for New Hampshire Working Families Act (Senate Bill 237). I have seen the struggles of parents trying to afford the exorbitant cost of childcare, families who make too much to qualify for state assistance. SB237 would help these families prosper.

Wages for early childhood teachers vary drastically between centers. I’ve taken a job almost an hour away because local centers did not offer livable wages. Due to the educator shortage, new teachers are not trained enough to be successful and seasoned teachers are overworked. Research shows that early experiences have a lasting impact on children’s health, ability to learn, and success in life. Children deserve quality care, but it is out of reach for too many.

The last center I worked for had a high turn around rate due to teachers not being paid enough to afford the cost of training and cost of college tuition. Most Childcare Centers do not pay their employees for yearly required training. We lose many amazing teachers to higher paying professions. It is not the job that drives them away, it's the out-of-pocket expenses, lack of health insurance, and low wages.

As a beneficiary of the Early Childhood Education Tuition Assistance program, I can attest to its effectiveness in teaching the knowledge and skills needed to provide intentional care to students and resources to families. SB237 would help more educators enroll in this program.

SB237 would support our childcare system, which keeps families working, children healthy, and the economy thriving. I ask lawmakers to support the professionals who create positive childhood experiences, foster love of learning, and provide quality care each day while parents work to strengthen our economy.

Kerry McKeen
Charlestown, NH

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