Parents deal with lack of child care options amid pandemic

KNWA

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The pandemic hit child care providers very hard, and some are making changes to their daily operations to keep their services going but it’s creating some challenges for families in need of care.

After being with the same daycare center for 2 years, Kate Gaffigan of Rogers has to find another provider for her daughter.

“They decided to terminate our contract and have given us a month to find different care for all the part-time kids,” said Gaffigan.

Gaffigan works in real estate and her child care needs are not the traditional 9 to 5. The daycare did offer her the option to go full time but it just doesn’t quite fit her needs. She says she understands the struggles providers face but the lack of options is tough for some families.

“Logistically, it would be more difficult….but I think there is an overabundance of need for people who don’t really need full time anymore because they work from home certain days,” said Gaffigan.

Michelle Wynn is the Co-Director of Childcare Aware of Northwest Arkansas, an agency that connects families to child care services. She says it’s not unusual for a provider to only accept full-time families.

“It goes back to economics, what’s financially best for the center. I think just like all businesses right now they are struggling in finding staff and they are looking at their hours too,” said Wynn.

The pandemic means making some cutbacks.

“When it comes to hours of operations, infant-toddler care, I think the demands of what families are looking for is where the shortages are,” said Wynn.

Sending Gaffigan back to the drawing board.

“It’s a new routine that you are adding to your life that is already busy, and so the routine of where is it, what are their qualifications? Does my daughter enjoy it, if not what are we going to do now?” said Gaffigan.

Wynn says it’s been a tough year for child care providers, but things are turning around and centers are filling up again. She expects more options to become available as business picks up and adds Child Care Aware of NWA is a resource family can use to help find a provider.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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