BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WBOY) — Childcare providers across the country are observing May 8 to show local communities how undervalued and underdeveloped daycare staff are.

‘A Day Without Child Care’ is a national movement where childcare centers are closing to write letters to legislatures and host events to help bring awareness to issues at hand within the childcare industry.

In West Virginia alone, roughly 43 percent of children under the age of six are in need and unable to access childcare. The primary of daycares within the state is to make childcare more assessable and affordable for families.

12 News spoke with Kristy Ritz, Executive Director of the West Virginia Association for Young Children, on some other focuses childcare providers hope to bring light to on this day.

“Making childcare subsidy payments based on enrollment rather than daily attendance would be a big help for childcare providers and also changing to categorical eligibility for childcare staff so those childcare programs would be able to hire staff and pay them a livable wage.”

With nearly seventy percent of working Americans doubling as parents, daycares are an essential service to other businesses or—”the business that supports all other businesses” as Ritz put it.

Budgets provided to childcare providers through the state differ on specific factors with child enrollment, which differs from child attendance averages, making it difficult for providers to pay their staff. Alongside being underpaid, the lack of benefits with the job makes it difficult for daycares to keep employees. To mend this particular issue, some childcare providers will increase the rates for fee-paying parents, increasing tuition costs for their children.

“This is how she gives me kisses!” – members of staff bond with the children greatly.

“WVAYC, Rattle the Windows and Teams for West Virginia Children created an action alert so that people in the community, parents, providers, business leaders, can send letters to their legislatures asking for support for childcare, so that we can all work together to solve the childcare crisis,” said Ritz, as it really does take a village to raise a child.

Six town hall meetings have been held throughout the state to bring light to the subject matter. The final town hall meeting will be held at Hollowell Park in Lewisburg on May 11 at 6 pm for the public to join in on the movement. You can also send a letter to your local legislature in support of childcare workers by using this link provided by WVAYC, Rattle the Windows and Teams for West Virginia Children.