Survey underscores plight of day care employees

April 10, 1992

In a survey with few surprises, the Maryland Committee for Children found that the state's child care workers receive low pay and few benefits, making it difficult for day care center operators to attract and keep competent staffs and ensure quality care for young children.

Here are a few highlights:

* A day care teacher in Maryland makes an average of $13,229 a year, or $6.36 an hour, according to the study conducted in 1990 and '91.

By comparison, a first-year teacher in Maryland -- with a college degree but no experience -- earns between $21,000 and $27,000, depending on where she teaches, says Ron Peiffer, spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education. Day care teachers do not need degrees, but must work at least one year in child care and complete some college courses for certification.

* Day care aides averaged $10,229 annually, or $5.02 an hour.

* Directors -- those who run centers and often have college degrees -- earn an average of $19,094 annually, or $9.18 an hour.

The survey of 416 randomly selected centers showed that more than 65 percent of child care workers have had some college and that 25 percent have college degrees.

* Benefits, like wages, also fall short, the study showed. More than 55 percent of the centers surveyed said they "could not pay for any of their employees health insurance." More than 36 dTC percent did not offer sick leave and 27 percent of the centers offered no paid vacation.

The study is part of a report by the Maryland Committee for Children's Salary Task Force, which has been studying compensation for three years. The report estimates that for a center to adequately pay its workers, it would have to charge $151 a week per child. The average cost of center care in Maryland is $77 a week.

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