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Early child care providers are undervalued and underpaid, local advocates say

education elementary school playground Honolulu Hawaii
Sophia McCullough
/
HPR

As September comes to a close, so does Child Care Provider Appreciation Month. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi made the designation earlier this year to recognize the importance of early childhood education for keiki development and the community. But many don’t get to hear about the challenges that child care workers face and overcome regularly.

The Conversation spoke with Ke’ōpū Reelitz, director of early learning and health policy at the Hawaiʻi Children’s Action Network, to get an update on the staffing shortage in Hawaiʻi’s child care industry — and its impact on the economy. She was joined by child care providers Toni McCartney on Kaua’i and Mickey Adams on The Big Island.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Sept. 29, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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