Child-care providers fighting for a living wage

Thank you for Katie Johnston’s story about inequality in Massachusetts’ child-care system (“Separate but unequal,” Page A1, May 2). I understand how these families have to balance child-care needs with work and putting food on the table. As a family child-care provider for more than a decade, I have struggled to make ends meet while providing quality child care to low-income families. Low reimbursement rates for providers make it nearly impossible to earn a living wage caring for these children, let alone to continue their education, as I am doing at Springfield College.

That’s why I fought through my union, SEIU Local 509, for a contract with the Department of Early Education and Care that raises these rates; our members just overwhelmingly ratified the historic agreement. It’s just a first step, but a momentous one, as it will get us closer to ending the tension between our need to care for our own families and our work caring for the Commonwealth’s neediest children.

Celina Reyes