Why are child care workers hard to find?

Our child care workforce is the key to our economic recovery. But parents can’t find providers to care for their children, and child care programs are struggling to survive.

Early childhood professionals fulfill one of the most important roles in society – nurturing and educating the next generation. Yet they are among the most poorly compensated in the country. 

The majority of infant and toddler educators and family child care operators earn poverty-level wages and more than half rely on public benefits. A child care worker makes $29,930 per year on average in New Jersey. In July 2021, four out of five centers reported being short-staffed. 

What’s more, child care is an equity issue – most of the workforce, 40 percent, are women of color.

The high cost of running a child care program leaves many providers operating on razor thin margins – unable to pay their teachers what they’re worth at a price that families can afford. This has led to limited staff, high turnover and empty classrooms.

If we want our children to be successful, we need to invest in the people who care for them.

Are you struggling to find child care? Send a message to your legislators telling them to invest more in those who care for our youngest learners.