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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Black voters in battleground states are a crucial voting bloc in 2024; Nikki Haley says she's voting for Trump in November; healthcare advocates suggest medical collaboration to treat fibroids; distinct vibes at IU Indianapolis pro-Palestinian protest.

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The House GOP moves to strike mention of Trump's criminal trial from the record, and his former rival Nikki Haley endorses him. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans reject a legislative fix to ensure Biden's name appears on the November ballot.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Burnout, low wages leave NH child care centers short staffed

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024   

A persistent child care worker shortage across New Hampshire is leaving families with few options.

The state is currently short more than 7,000 child care positions but low wages and burnout are driving workers from the field and forcing some centers to close.

Shannon Tremblay, director of the New Hampshire Child Care Advisory Council, said workers are struggling to care for their own families with wages barely above the federal poverty line.

"No one wants to come in for a low wage," Tremblay pointed out. "No one wants to come in making $15 an hour, working long hours in a stressful environment."

Tremblay argued greater state investment will create long-term benefits for both parents and children, some of whom may have disabilities or behavioral issues which could be identified earlier by trained child care staff.

Last year, state lawmakers invested more than $60 million in child care services, including $15 million for the creation of child care workforce grants and investments in the state's Family Resource Centers.

Tremblay emphasized the end of career and technical education programs in New Hampshire high schools broke the pipeline of workers entering the field, putting greater pressure on current staff to do it all.

"Our providers are the case manager, the cook, the plumber," Tremblay observed. "They want to provide that high-quality care and right now it's just, they can't do it."

Tremblay stressed pandemic-era funding to support the child care industry will run out in September, so state lawmakers need to act. She added the state could increase wages so the burden does not fall on New Hampshire families, who currently spend roughly $24,000 a year on care for two children under age five.


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