It’s 8:45pm and a typical Manhattan preschool is opening for the day. When it comes to an average pre-school class there is a certain degree of diversity involved: some are raised by single parents, others by same-gender parents, and still others by bi-racial parents. Some are the children of extremely wealthy people, others come from comfortable middle-class homes but the point is – these are not poor children. The same cannot be said for their Nannies. Despite the gaps in income amongst the children’s parents, their Nannies often share the same hourly rate, between $10-15 per hour. These (2008) are the rates for hired help in Manhattan:
·      Dog-walker is $15-20 per hour
·      Cleaner is $15-20 per hour
·      Nanny is $10-15 per hour

Most working families in the US are unable to make quality childcare choices because of their tight budgets. For an average family of 5 (with two parents working) hiring an undocumented worker (for $6-10 ph) as opposed to a trained professional documented worker (for $20-30 ph) is tempting.

While we continue to have an archaic immigration system that does not accommodate the hundreds of thousands of foreign illegal Nannies, we will continue to have labor markets flooded with undocumented workers.

While the childcare industry remains unregulated and while working families continue to struggle alone with childcare choices, children parents and Nannies will continue to be the victims of bargain basement childcare.

Bargain basement childcare affects society at large. Isn’t it time we reformed the childcare system in this country?